Slightly old news, but I have been curious as to what will happen to the iconic theater marquee sign.
A Chicago trader has acquired the Esquire Theater on Oak Street, reviving hope that the long-vacant property will be redeveloped into a luxury shopping complex.
Donald Wilson Jr., owner of Chicago-based DRW Holdings LLC, has been quietly buying up the retail properties of financially strapped M Development LLC, the real estate firm of Chicago developer Mark Hunt, according to records filed with Cook County and the state.
Among the prominent properties now under the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trader’s control is the Esquire Theater and the adjacent lot along the high-end shopping street, stretching from 58 to 104 E. Oak St.
Efforts to redevelop the historic Gold Coast movie house have stalled since it shut down in September 2006. M Development had plans, created at the height of the real estate boom, to demolish the theater and build a boutique hotel and luxury shops. That never happened.
After failing to receive zoning permission from the city to build the 10-story hotel, M Development revised the plan in 2008 to build a three-story luxury shopping complex. That project stalled as well amid the global economic crisis and drop in luxury spending.
The building has been sitting empty in the middle of the block for almost four years, contributing to the high vacancy on the internationally recognized street that is home to designer stores including Harry Winston, Hermes, Prada and Jimmy Choo.
(click here to continue reading Chicago trader buys Esquire Theater – Chicago Tribune.)