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Alcyon Group Makes Theater Progress

Organization hoping to renovate Highland Park Theater hires consultant. Public discussion planned Jan. 27.

Alcyon Foundation hopes this rendering becomes a reality. Courtesy of the Dobbins Group.
Alcyon Foundation hopes this rendering becomes a reality. Courtesy of the Dobbins Group.

Potential renovation of the former and new Alcyon Theater took a step closer to reality when Mayor Nancy Rotering told the Highland Park City Council Monday a consulting company had been hired by the private group hoping to renovate the downtown venue.

The Alcyon Foundation, a group of local residents who hope to renovate the Highland Park Theater into a multipurpose entertainment venue featuring live performances, movies, private events and more, has hired the Alford Group to do a feasibility study.

Half the money for the study has been raised by Alcyon and the group expects the rest by Friday, according to Rotering. The organization originally planned to spend $20,000 for the study. The study should be complete by the end of January.

A report and detailed discussion is expected when the City Council meets Jan. 27, according to Rotering.

The theater was opened in 1927 as a live playhouse known as the Alcyon and maintained that name for many years before it was renamed the Highland Park. The foundation plans to restore the name.

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Susan Kozloff December 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM
In light of the elaborate venue Writer's Theatre in Glencoe is building and the failed Apple Tree theatre in Highland Park, I just don't see how another attempt here wil bring in the crowds.
Kimberly Saccaro December 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM
The Alcyon Foundation is taking a measured and intentional approach to the prospective theatre renovation. Questioning, measuring, qualifying, verifying, listening to hard answers to hard questions, and weighing judgments expressed by potential key volunteer leaders and potential key contributors are all parts of strategic market testing. This process is called a feasibility study in the non-profit sector. The feasibility study is an intentional step that a non-profit takes to assess risks and determine whether it should go ahead with a capital fund-raising campaign. The essence of the feasibility study is asking potential donors to provide a measurement of their acceptance of the plan for our capital project. I hope this sheds some light on the validity and importance of the study we are conducting. For those with questions regarding the feasibility process or if you would like to learn more about the business plan, I - and my fellow volunteer members of the Alcyon Foundation Board of Directors - am always available to answer any questions our fellow Highland Park residents may have. We also welcome those that would like to join us in our volunteer efforts in what we hope will be a positive impact on our community. I also invite you to visit our website at www.alcyonfoundation.org, where we will provide updated information as it is available.
AK December 11, 2013 at 12:28 PM
So, my understanding from the reading from Alcyon website and the post above that 1)None of the participants have any experience in operating anything they want to raise $$$Millions for and 2)The feasibility study by Alford Group is to determine whether Alcyon "should go ahead with a capital fund-raising campaign". If this deal was so sweet to start with... wouldn't the City merge it with Ravinia somehow?
Stu Pidasso December 11, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Yes, Agreed AK, Another dog and pony show, the city will end up holding the ball at the end of the day!! With no advancement in the disposal of the property. @ Benny - Great post!! So true, maybe it will open some eyes!!
Daniel December 11, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Capital Cronyism at its finest. No chance of rasing the money. After years of trying to sell this elephant we are doing more studies. Group is spearheaded by Karen May's daughter in law. Mayor Rotering worked for Karen May. Funny how this was the best offer we could do.
Iris Morgan December 11, 2013 at 03:56 PM
How about an affordable movie theater and a family friendly restaurant, kinda like the olden days of the Alcyon?
Daniel December 11, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Why not put it up for auction, have a private business buy it and decide what to do with it. Get it back on the real estate tax role, stop raising our taxes and losing money holding this crumbling building.
forest barbieri December 11, 2013 at 04:25 PM
It is nice that a group of locals have a desire to do something with the Theater. Now, if they just knew what the heck it was that they wanted to do. My take is that to make it economically viable after all others have pulled out or tried to bait the city into becoming a partner with tax breaks et al they will need some fairy dust to make anything happen. As well as OPM. OTHER PEOPLES MONEY
forest barbieri December 11, 2013 at 04:31 PM
If the fairy dust arrives in time and they get some backing other than the city as indeed the economy has improved and there is a lot of equity gains out there...calling DS and friends needing write offs....then we can see if they can make it work which may be harder than the fairy dust and funding:)
Stu Pidasso December 11, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Nice! :)
Stu Pidasso December 12, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Benny, Excellent post! if I may say!! it's very insulting with the games that are being played!!

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