SOUTH SHORE — Developers unveiled plans Tuesday night for a new movie theater and restaurant complex in a former bank in South Shore.
Alisa Starks, who developed movie theaters in Chatham and Lawndale, said at Tuesday night’s 5th Ward meeting that she plans to demolish the former Urban Partnership Bank at 7054 S. Jeffery Blvd. and build an entertainment center.
Starks, who lives in the Jackson Park Highlands area of South Shore, bought the building in 2015 for an estimated $307,500, according to county property records, and she originally planned to maintain the building and build a movie theater and bowling alley.
“When the architects got in they said we couldn’t use the building as is, so we’re going to demolish it,” Starks said.
She said building from scratch will allow for a more focused building around a 10-screen, dine-in theater and a New Orleans style restaurant, tentatively named Odessa’s.
The terra cotta building will be replaced with one that is mostly glass and metal panels designed by Johnson and Lee Architects of Chicago.
The three-story building will be topped with an events venue designed by 555 International, the Chicago firm that designed Girl and the Goat and GT Fish and Oyster. The first two stories of the building will be focused on the theater, which will serve food and beer and wine, and the restaurant, which Starks said already is developing a Creole menu.
If it seems early to be thinking about the menu before any work has begun, it’s a sign of the aggressive pace Starks said she wants to hit after two years of planning the project.
Starks said she wants to open next summer. The next step will be to get zoning approval from the city. If there is a mild winter, demolition will begin sooner, Starks said.
A second building at 7054 S. Bennett Ave. also would be demolished to create a parking lot for the complex.