Friday, June 9, 2017

An interesting proposal for the former UPB branch/Jeffrey Theater

UPDATE 11:25 AM - I apologize, failed to give this post a title!

7054 S. Jeffrey Blvd
Through NextDoor I found a DNA Info article regarding Alisa Starks making a pitch to the South Shore community regarding the former Urban Partnership Bank branch located at 7054 S. Jeffrey Blvd. It sounds like a good plan:
Alisa Starks, who developed movie theaters in Lawndale and Chatham, has been brought in by Monroe Investments to revive the bank at 7054 S. Jeffery Blvd. that closed in 2014.

At a 5th Ward meeting Tuesday at the South Shore Cultural Center, Starks presented a rough idea for the 46,000-square-foot bank that included a four-screen movie theater on the main floor, a six-lane bowling alley in the basement and a kid-friendly restaurant and play area on the second floor.

“It’s designed to be a boutique theater, think Hyde Park’s Harper Theater,” said Starks, who said she was alerted to the bank’s potential by one of her South Shore neighbors.

She said the first floor would also include a Cajun restaurant called Odessa with live jazz and blues run by the chef from the now-closed Epiphany Bistro in Lincoln Park
The former UPB branch - and longtime hq for the defunct Shorebank - had been closed since 2014. The space also includes the facade of the former Jeffrey Theater. It would be very cool to redevelop that site and it could be a movie theater again and revive this corner now that a important business anchor had left. There's just one problem.

This article is almost two years old. Published in August 2015 and during that month Starks' ICE Theaters had filed for bankruptcy. Of course this is not to say this wouldn't be a successful venture and that this project genuinely caught the entrepreneurial eye of Ms. Starks.

Not mentioned in this article was ICE Theaters other than the fact that the Chatham 14 was sold by the Starks and ultimately that venue is under the ownership and banner of Studio Movie Grill. So no indication of this development on Jeffrey becoming an outpost for ICE Theaters.

Now, it's about to be summer 2017, which is the expected opening date for this venue. One wonders if there are any further updates about this development or even a grand opening. In the meanwhile it's safe to say this space remains shuttered and there is also a shuttered grocery store just across the street still looking for a tenant.

Finally here's a recent picture of 71st/Jeffrey taken from the J14 bus on the way to downtown Chicago. I could be wrong but there's no evidence of any development here. Perhaps Ms. Starks wasn't able to make this development happen during the course of the last two years.

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