City Council May Pursue Plan to Revitalize Theater

The City Council will consider a memorandum of understanding tonight regarding a proposal to turn the Highland Park Theatre into a state‐of‐the‐art venue for first‐run films, live performing arts and special events.

The information below comes from the City of Highland Park

The Highland Park City Council will consider a memorandum of understanding regarding a proposed project to revitalize the and adjacent parking lot at its meeting on Monday.


The proposal by Alcyon, LLC (Alcyon) was selected from three proposals submitted in response to the City’s  on how to revitalize the theater and parking lot properties.

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“This is the beginning of a thorough evaluation process,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said. “It is an incredible opportunity to save a treasured landmark, while strengthening the downtown business district and building on the vibrancy and progressiveness that has made Highland Park the jewel of the North Shore.”

The Alcyon proposal includes redevelopment of the Highland Park Theatre and adjacent municipal parking lot with a sixstory, terraced designed, mixeduse, LEED targeted development. The proposal includes 45 residential condominium units, 10,000 square feet of retail/commercial use, and a 500 to 600 seat theater/mixedmedia center. The new theater would be owned and operated by Central Cinema, LLC, an independent group who is working in tandem with Alcyon as part of the planning and development process.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to pursue this exciting project with the City of Highland Park,” said Steve Korol, a Principal of Alcyon LLC and Highland Park resident. Dan Slack, another principal of Alcyon said, “Our goal is to enable the City to preserve an important element of downtown Highland Park’s historic fabric with a sharp focus on its future.”

The proposal includes a newly renovated theatre with a stateoftheart venue for firstrun films, live performing arts, special events, corporate meeting functions, and a variety of other uses. In addition, the developers would coordinate and manage the building of a new parking structure on Central Avenue, directly to the south adding approximately 90 parking spaces to the existing surface parking lot.

The scheduled vote today will allow the City to begin to perform the necessary due diligence to determine if the proposed project should move forward. As a part of this process, the City has also entered into a professional services agreement with Gruen Gruen + Associates to conduct an analysis to determine the economic feasibility of the proposed project.

“Now that we’ve received and reviewed the responses to the RFP, we can begin the process to ensure the final outcome is in the best interest of the City from an economic, cultural and development perspective,” Rotering said.

If the City Council determines the project should be pursued based on the information obtained through that analysis, the project will move forward to the City’s public zoning approval processes, which will include public input, consideration by the Plan Commission, Design Review Commission and a final determination by the City Council.

Alcyon is led by principals of Chicagobased Baker Development Corp. in conjunction with Central Cinema, LLC. Baker has a wide range of experience delivering successful development projects throughout the greater Chicagoland area, including Highland Park.

Copies of tonight’s City Council meeting agenda and more information regarding the proposed development will be available on the City’s website at: www.cityhpil.com.

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forest barbieri August 27, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Super! The economy is improving and that presents more private risk capital and development projects. Hope this all works out.
Stuart Senescu August 28, 2012 at 03:05 PM
A parking lot 'south' of the theater? Did they really mean 'east.' As long as they aren't planning a fee lot to replace current free parking this sounds very good, but its close to the 'if it sounds too good to be true....' theory.
John August 28, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Such a HP Icon. I really hope this gets done!
Daniel August 28, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Tough to get the financing in my opinion. Also how much if anything is the developer paying for the property?
Molly August 29, 2012 at 10:41 AM
According to a Tribune article, 8/29, the Alcon plans for a SIX story building with a parking lot adjacent (the existing lot to the east?) and a parking Deck in the lot across the stree (next to the Enaz/Country Kitchen) building. This sounds like a massive building , taller than Renaissance Place. The existing building is certainly not working but please, City Council, do not rush into an agreement that would destroy the beauty of the eastern end of Central Avenue. This enormous building and parking deck is just as bad (or worse) than the "band-aid" the council seeks to avoid. I won't vote for a mayor or council member that pursues this plan!


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