Village Art Theatre

1548-50 N. Clark Street,
Chicago, IL 60610

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November 1981 photo courtesy of Chicago Magazine, January 1982 issue..

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built as the Germania Theatre and opened July 29, 1916. It changed name to the Parkside Theatre after the US entry into World War I when anti-German sentiment was running high. The theatre later went through a couple of other name changes over the years including the Gold Coast Theatre in January 1934 and the Globe Theatre. The theatre is located on N. Clark Street at Germania Place in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago.

Prior to being divided into four small auditoriums in the early-1990’s, the theatre could seat 900. Little remained of the original interior design, but the facade, despite being almost entirely hidden behind an ugly modern marquee, was still intact and featured red brick and beige terra-cotta highlights.

Long a popular venue for art, foreign and cult films, the Village Art Theatre was closed in March 2007. In March 2018, the Village Art Theatre and neighboring buildings along North Avenue were demolished to make way for construction of the Fifteen Fifty on the Park condominium building. The landmarked facade of the former theatre was taken apart and stored, and will be reused on the new structure.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 167 comments)

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 12, 2017 at 5:29 am

The current Skyline newspaper has an article titled “Stalled Old Town condo project moving forward with a new developer”. The online version requires a subscription.

http://www.insideonline.com/

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 24, 2017 at 9:08 am

I added artist’s rendering images of the re-purposed facade, from the sales office window now on Wells Street. Also some photos of the rear of the theatre, coal chute and exits. As this area may not be accessible soon. Trees in a parkway behind it have been cut down, and blue construction fencing has now gone up in front of the theatre as of earlier this week. I’ll get pics of that soon.

Furiouslion76
Furiouslion76 on November 28, 2017 at 10:04 pm

It’s been spared. The entire building. And it will be given landmark status. Its original single screen will be restored, as well as its reputation for showcasing independent, foreign and cult films. Of course it will get an extensive renovation upon reopening.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on November 29, 2017 at 6:56 am

Furiouslion, that’s very good news. Do you have a link to an article or story for attribution?

HelloMyNamesJen
HelloMyNamesJen on December 27, 2017 at 7:48 am

@Furiouslion76 – how interesting! Echoing request for article, I’d love to read more.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on December 27, 2017 at 8:11 am

The building received landmark status in 2009. A 2008 link is above in the comments. I have not heard of any plans for it’s return to an active theatre. The sales office on Well Street for the project is not open yet, but the website is finally up. The only recent changes were the cutting down of the trees in the parkway behind it and replacing them with utility poles. Also construction fencing and cement barricades on the Clark Street side. The No Parking signs are dated until February. I’ve asked the nearby commercial tenants and all they’ve heard is that electrical work will be first. Here is the website, though it has a VIP sign up and not much info yet.

http://1550onthepark.com/

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on January 19, 2018 at 1:03 pm

The marquee was removed sometime this week. I’ll get photos tomorrow.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on January 20, 2018 at 5:43 pm

OK I’ve added some photos from today with the marquee removed. It exposed some original recessed lighting over the entryway, as well as vertical and square lighting previously hidden by the marquee. 10 vertical fixtures per side, and 14 fixtures per side in a square pattern, that had been encapsulated by the framing for the newer marquee.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 4, 2018 at 9:18 am

March 1st article with more photos. Be sure to click on the “Building Up Chicago” link mentioned at the bottom, for more pics with the containers that have been out in place to store the facade pieces.

https://chicago.curbed.com/2018/3/1/17055040/old-town-condo-development-north-clark

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 21, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Demolition on the auditorium has begun, broken through the wall on the North elevation. Monday would be the next day to get photos, as they will likely finish off the auditorium then. Contrary to what I previously mentioned, the facade will not be removed, numbered and replaced. I originally thought that due to the 3 containers stacked in front of it. Instead it will remain in place, anchored to those 3 containers via I beams for the duration of demolition and new construction. I had thought of the removal & replacement scenario, because that is what was done to the Cedar Hotel on State Street at Cedar. But that facade did not have landmark status. It was just thankfully saved and reattached to the new structure behind it, to appease the neighborhood and alderman in the early discussions. I have uploaded a few photos from today of the facade reinforcement and the broken through North elevation auditorium wall, as visible from North Avenue.

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