Sunday, September 28, 2008

Almost Reality

We have no clue how old this Daniel P. Coffey and Associates proposal is, but it is nice to dream a bit, isn't it? We are closer to this vision than ever before. From the website:

"This plan proposed to revitalize Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood by linking the restored 4,800-seat Uptown movie palace with a new fourteen screen cinema complex, parking, retail, and residential loft redevelopment. Contributing entertainment venues in the district are the Riviera Nightclub, Aragon Ballroom (concerts) and the Green Mill Jazz Club. A newly rehabilitated mass transit station will also be a key component to the project."


  1. That is the greatest thing I have ever heard!

  2. This plan was developed several years ago when the City was going to develop the land across from the Uptown Theatre for the 14 screen cineplex. (in Mary Ann Smith's Ward) You can see the cineplex in the rendering. The whole intersection at Broadway and Lawrence was to be transformed into an entertainment complex like the Staples Center in LA.

    Very soon after, Alderman Shiller took the cineplexes from the project for her Wilson Yard project, leaving the development across the street from the Uptown virtually impossible. The original vision of a true entertainment district died in that action by Alderman Shiller. It is very possible that this action also delayed the Uptown Theatre from being restored for several years.

    It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Helen didn't plan all along to thwart that other project, knowing full well that some day she would negotiate the cineplexes out of existance, once the collective memory had forgotten how it all happened.

    Don't forget that Helen would later "promise" that the cineplex would still happen after it was removed from the WY plan. It was to happen instead by a small private owner from the east coast in Jimmy Gousgous' development.

    Once Jimmy was saddled with the "responsibility" of building an expensive parking garage for the whole Uptown area, that cineplex idea floundered and died in his project too.

    Don't expect to see movies in Uptown as long as Alderman Shiller is in power. (unless you watch them for free in the park or on your own TV, assuming she doesn't find a way to control those too)

  3. Seriously?

    I pay for movie tickets with cash, and the real estate market is certainly not killing my interest in trips to the movie theater.

  4. Cinema companies did quite well through the Great Depression and World War II.

  5. Hey Zesty:

    What is the status of the Gousgos project? Wasn't he going to build retail there as well? Is the whole project completely dead or are we just losing the movie theater aspect of it?


  6. The Gousgos project is dead for all intents and purposes. Uptown needs a theatre eventually but you're not going to see anything soon the way the economy is going, the financing is impossible.

    Linking a rehabbed Uptown to a multiplex makes sense as the theatre only will operate a small fraction of the time as a music venue. Being able to run film and be connected with other screens (using the cavernous lobby of the Uptown) would work nicely.