City Council Inches Towards Plan for Theater
The Highland Park City Council voted unanimously to consider a memorandum of understanding regarding a proposed project to revitalize the Highland Park Theatre on Monday.
The City Council took a big step towards reopening the recently-shuttered Highland Park Theatre at its meeting on Monday night, when it voted unanimously to to consider a memorandum of understanding to revitalize the Highland Park Theatre and its adjacent parking lot.
The proposal, by Alcyon, LLC (Alcyon), was one of three proposals submitted in response to the City’s fall 2011 Request for Proposal (RFP) on how to revitalize the theater and parking lot properties, according to a news release from the City of Highland Park.
Want Highland Park news in your inbox every morning? Subscribe to Patch's newsletter.
“This is the beginning of a thorough evaluation process,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said in the release.
The Alcyon would seek to replace the Highland Park Theatre and its adjacent parking lot with a six‐story, terraced designed, mixed‐use, LEED targeted development, according to the release. The proposal includes 45 residential condominium units, 10,000 square feet of retail/commercial use, and a 500 to 600 seat theater/mixed‐media center.
"We're excited about the possibility this proposal brings to us," City Councilman Paul Frank told Patch on Tuesday.
Now that the Council has signed off on the understanding, a city-contracted financial analyst will gather data to examine the proposal in order to determine what's allowable and what's feasible, according to Frank. Though the understanding means the city is in an exclusive talk with Alcyon for up to six months, the next steps in the process could begin in half that time.
"If a determination is made to go forward before six months we can go faster," Frank said.
The decision to enter into the understanding with Alcyon marks the beginning of a process that could take years; however, the Councilman noted that it's an important step forward.
"We're letting the public know where we're at," Frank said, "We need to move forward with this property and help bring back to life a really important asset of our downtown."
In the meantime, the City Council has not yet decided whether or not to invest $90,000 to reopen one of the theater's four screens. About this, Frank sounded less optimistic.
"We're continuing to look at options, but I don't think there's enough support on the council to invest more money," he said.