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Should Deerbrook Theaters Become Art Center?

Voice your opinion in the latest Patch Poll. Could the closed theaters at the rear of the Deerbrook Mall become an art center?

If the embryonic plans to redevelop the come to fruition, the four .

Could there be a different plan for those structures?

When the ownership of the former Multiplex was no longer able to operate the facility that was the pre training facility of the Chicago Bulls, it became the operated by the .

Could some form of be possible to turn those theaters into an art center? When Patch first wrote about the plans of people affiliated with the shopping center’s redevelopment last month, reader .

“(We could have) small to medium live music/local theater/comedy/improv venues with dining and outdoor seating,” she wrote. “Fill in with upscale retail and anchor with an expanded Jewel. Work with the Park District, Brunswick and Joy of the Game to make recreation part of the plan.”

Steve Bachner, a Northbrook native who operates The Hair Studio by Steve in Highwood, is a potential customer of such site, “A shopping center you and your friends and family can go be social at to shop and dine, maybe catch a movie or just meet for a drink,” he writes about what he would like to see.

Please cast your vote and let us know what you think in the comments. The results will be published Friday.

Jeff Lyon May 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM
If the goal is to increase sales and property taxes, why burden the center with a use that may generate neither?
Larry Mason May 14, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Deerfield has a long tradition of innovative, high quality fine arts programming, including the outstanding work of Deerfield Family Theatre and Theatre D. A revitalized performing arts center would be an excellent addition to our community. Skokie, Highland Park, Highwood and other nearby communities have successful performance venues with regular bookings of talent from outside the community that are big draws and sales tax revenue generators. The Deerbrook locations would be an excellent site for a new performance arts center for musical acts, theatre and other special events programming.
Charlie May 14, 2012 at 01:38 PM
In this economy, with retailers streaming their marketing to the web and away from bricks and mortar, the only sure way to generate tax revenue is to level Deerbrook or Cadwell and convert to property taxable residences.
Charlie May 14, 2012 at 01:52 PM
There must be commercial viability. Your examples are not sufficient or viable in this particular real estate environment. Viper Alley is an example of a beautiful performing space which is greatly under-booked. Their business might be getting by, but there's rarely any significant marquee entertainers playing there. Dark nights and empty seats don't get thirsty or hungry.
Paul Doig May 14, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Nothing makes any money at that strip mall except best buy, and jewel and maybe the office store, I say open it on the weekend as a flie market, and farmers market, and really bring some traffic to the area
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 14, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I LOVE IT!! Thank you, Steve, for giving this some visibility. Let's look at this from the standpoint of the developer. This space has has been dead for so long that I assume any lease has run out long ago. In the meantime, the rest of the mall has taken a dive with it (not necessarily b/c of the closed theaters). As the developer, would you rather donate this space to help develop traffic and build the remainder of your faltering property? Or would you just like to let space sit ... dead as a doornail with no revenue and revenue falling all around it. I'm no tax expert, but i assume if the space was donated to a non-profit theater organization, you also get tax advantages. Steppenwolf North? A new space for the Northwestern theater department? For for-profit organizations, let's also not forget that this is a hop/skip/jump off the expressway ... very easy access. Take a chance and let some brave/smart organization build this space with lease terms that make it favorable for everybody if things work out in five years. I don;t think for a minute that the town should invest in this except maybe one employee to direct it. But there HAS to be something more creative in this space that can drive night traffic to better Deerbrook restaurants and businesses.
The Q May 14, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Tear it all down........
RB May 15, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Tearing it all down and starting over does make some sense. Presently, I expect a patchwork that won't get us very close to what we need. The fact the developer lets it run down as far as they did should inform us about the cheap and non - imaginative approach they may take. I'm also concerned they will walk all over our a village Board like the two places downtown.
Charlie May 15, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Exactly.
Amy Parker May 15, 2012 at 02:06 AM
In its present configuration, that theater space has zero appeal, which goes a long way toward explaining its demise. The backside of the mall? Yuck. Whatever you do there, if it isn't attractive and pedestrian-friendly, it's a dead duck. I think mixed use is the most effective way to structure this property--and may be for Cadwell's Corners too. Hotel, apartments, and/or senior-living, in combination with Jewel and another good anchor (NOT TJ Maxx), would assure patrons. Good pedestrian design with attractive landscaping and shade structures or trees, and not just big ugly parking lots, would go a long way toward improving the attractiveness of the space and its commercial appeal. Including an arts venue is a great idea, but I think we are already taxed to the max here and the only way something like that would fly would be with private financing.

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