Apollo Theater, United Artists Theater
Life Span: 1921-1990
Location: Southeast corner of Dearborn and Randolph streets (Block 37)
Architect: Holabird & Roche, Howard Crane (1927 remodeling)
Chicago Tribune, May 23, 1920
As a headline for his new Chicago theater, Mr. A. H. Woods has had upwards of 4,000 names suggested in lieu of the forbidden “McCormick.” These are in addition to the hundreds received by The Tribune which range from “The Fol de Rol” to “The Dunning.” In the circumstances Mr ‘Woods thinks he may call it “The Advance-Rumely ” or “The J L Case”.
Variety, December 17, 1920
WOODS THEATRE NAME
Opening Attraction Also in Doubt
Starts Feb. 15.
Chicago, Dec. 14.—The name of the new A. H. Woods theatre may be switched several times before the final label is hung on it, It was to have been called the McCormick. Rumors here last week were that the Century had been decided on. Later, true to Woods form, it was stated that name had been withdrawn.
The new house is being rapidly completed and is due to open Feb. 15. It is located at Dearborn and Randolph streets, directly opposite to the Woods. The seating capapcity will be about 1,500.
The opening attraction is not definitely set. If “Tickle Me” is ready to leave Broadway at that time the Hammerstein piece will serve as the premier offering.
Chicago Tribune, April, 21, 1921
A. H. Woods has finally decided upon the opening attraction for the new Apollo theater. Mr. Woods yesterday telegraphed his Chicago representative, Lou M. Houseman, to make the announcement that the new playhouse on the southeast corner or Randolph and Dearborn streets will be thrown open to the public on Monday night, May 16, with Miss Marjorie Rambeau in “The Sign on the Door.”
Mrs. Samuel Insull will not appear before Chicago audiences as the leading lady in her own “School for Scandal” company this spring. according to a statement yesterday by Mr. Insull. The benefit show, which had been planned to raise funds for St. Luke’s hospital, has been called off because of the sponsors’ inability to secure a theater.
It was originally proposed to open the Apollo with Mrs. Insull’s performance.
Planned All Star Cast.
With the notable cast she had planned to select, it was to have been a gala event, and Mr. Woods’ contribution to the benefit was to have been the use of the theater.
“You know, in order to make the show a success it would be necessary to have the leading actors of the country.” Mr. Insull said. “These people are all busy with their own work, and the only time we could possibly secure their services would be in the spring, after the winter season.
No Disagreement with Woods.
“The theaters in Chicago were all booked up. We could not secure a house. We had to abandon the idea.”
Mr. Insult denied there had been any disagreement between Mrs. Insull and Mr. Woods.
“Mr. Woods has been most helpful,” Mr. Insull asserted. “There was no dispute whatever.”
Architectural Record, June, 1923
Stage with Curtain.
National Hotel Register, March 23, 1921
SOMETHING ENTIRELY NEW.
Will Be Used for Exterior Lighting , and Advertising Purposes at Chicagos Nearest Theater.
The exterior lighting effects of Mr. Woods’ new Apollo theater at the southeast corner of Dearborn and Randolph streets, Chicago, will be unusually elaborate. Special attention has been given to the attraction sign, which is constructed of copper, surmounted by a Greek statue in the same material, which will weather to the old verdi gris color of the ancient bronze.
The statue referred to will be lighted by a special spot light arranged in the sign itself. Around the cornice of the build ing is a row of incandescent lights On the Dearborn street side the decorative griffins support large light globes. The whole corner of the theater will be lighted by a special daylight arc thrown upon the building from the present Woods theater across the way. This will be the first time that this special light has been used in Chicago, and it will single out this building from the various other theaters in the neighborhood, and form an advertising feature of un usual importance.
Chicago and Its Makers, Paul Gilbert, 1929
This theatre, at the southeast corner of Dearborn and Randolph Streets, was originally opened as The “Apollo,” now under the ownership of the United Artists, a leading moving picture theatre, and the name of Apollo has been transferred to what was formerly the old “Olympic.”
Variety, February 8, 1928
U.A. and B. & K.
Chicago, Feb. 7.
All supplies used in converting the Apollo, legit house, into the United Artist theatre at a cost of $900,000, were purchased through Balaban & Katz, a Publix subsidiary.
United Artists Theater
United Artists Theater
Ross & Browne Real Estate Map
Chicago Tribune, December 28, 1988
3 North Loop Developers to Get Windfall
The city is about to hand three of the city’s wealthiest developers a $24.4 million subsidy to build an office complex in the heart of the Loop—the largest renewal incentive in Chicago history.
The leaders of several civic watchdog groups claim the incentive, called a land “write-down,” is exorbitant. Some even contend that the office complex, or something like it, would have been built anyway, with no subsidy at all.
The developers were promised a subsidy five years ago, but its size could not be determined until Thursday, when the city learned how much it will cost to acquire property on the block east of the Daley Civic Center.
The city will pay the current owners $22.2 million for half the block under a condemnation agreement by Cook County Circuit Judge Earl Arkins.
The city must still acquire another quarter of the block. The remaining quarter is already owned by a three-devleoper partnership that proposes to erect a $400 million office-over-retail complex.
The partnership, called FJV Venture, agreed to pay the city $12.5 million for the parts of the block that the partnership didn’t already own.
The block, bounded by State, Randolph, Dearborn and Washington Streets, is to be the centerpiece of the city’s North Loop urban renewal project. To be designed by architect Helmut Jahn, its base structure will contain a glassy shopping arcade that will connect, in a visual sense, Marshall Field & Coo.’s State Street store with the Picasso statue on the Daley Plaza.
The concept behind the North Loop was for the city to condemn the many raunchy stores and theaters in the six-block zone, and resell the land to selected developers who, in return for a break on the land price, would build what the planners wanted.
Back in 1981, under then-Mayor Jane Byrne, the city floated $65 million in North Loop bonds-enough, it was thought, to buy and resell all six blocks. But the funds ran out after only two blocks, mainly because of administrative delays, high interest rates, and the inexorable climb of downtown real estate prices.
An additional $58 million in bonds was sold in late 1986 by then-Mayor Harold Washington`s administration, with $35 million in proceeds earmarked for the block east of the Daley Center, which planners call Block 37.
But once again the city encountered delays, one being the controversy over whether to save the landmark McCarthy Building at the southwest corner of the block. Meanwhile the price of prime Loop land rose from about $450 a square foot to the $565 and $600 prices agreed to on Thursday.
According to internal city planning documents, the city`s newest cost estimate for acquiring Block 37, demolishing the buildings, and relocating tenants is about $37 million. Subtracting FJV`s $12.5 million payment makes the prospective “write-down” $24.4 million.
The high cost also raises a question of whether the city will have enough funds left over to acquire the Harris and Selwyn Theaters a block north on Dearborn Street. The city wants to buy the landmark theaters and lease them to the Goodman Theatre as part of a “theater row” anchored on the east by the restored Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.
But with at least $37 million going to Block 37, it is uncertain whether the city will have sufficient funds left to buy the theaters. Nearly $17 million of the proceeds were set aside for interest payments. By the mid-`90s those payments are to be covered by property taxes flowing from a rebuilt North Loop.
An FJV executive insisted Thursday that the office project is not over-subsidized, even though the city will pay two-thirds of the $37 million land assembly tab.
“The size of the write-down is no bigger than what was expected,” said Michael Tobin, FJV project manager. “The only way that property could be acquired is through public intervention.”
Tobin also pointed out that under its redevelopment contract with the city, FJV must contribute up to an additional $4 million to a North Loop preservation fund. The fund was used to rehab the Chicago Theatre and will be tapped to fix up the Reliance Building, a nearby landmark.
Michael Leroy, a condemnation lawyer hired by the city, said the sizable subsidy was justified because FJV is limited in what it can do on the property.
Not so, according to civic groups like Metropolitan Planning Council and the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois. Both protested when FJV, after first promising to save the McCarthy Building, convinced city officials last year to rescind its landmark status so the partnership can eventually knock it down.
But a more fundamental critique of the Block 37 deal comes from critics such as Arthur Lyons, head of the Center for Economic Policy Analysis.
“Redevelopment would have happened there a couple of years ago if the city hadn`t gotten involved,” Lyons said. “I call it planning blight. I`m disappointed that Harold Washington didn`t call off the whole thing.”
The late mayor had close ties with one of the FJV principals-Bernard Weissbourd, chairman of Metropolitan Structures Inc. Weissbourd was one of the few white businessmen to back Washington`s long-shot 1983 camapign. The other two firms in FJV are the Levy Organization, headed by Lawrence Levy; and JMB Realty Corp., headed by Neil Bluhm and Judd Malkin.
The big winners Thursday, however, were the owners of the United Artists Theater, 45 W. Randolph St., and the five small shops that wrap around the southwest corner of Randolph and State Street.
Under terms furnished by their attorney, Thomas Burke, Plitt Theaters Inc. will be paid $7.3 million for its dormant movie house, and a partnership called SIDCOR will get $14.9 million for its buildings, including the century-old, Springer Building, once remodeled by architect Louis Sullivan.
United Artists Theater
United Artists Theater