February 25, 2011

Movie theater coming to 53rd Street

Plans are underway to build a five-screen movie theater near the Harper Court project on South 53rd Street and East Harper Avenue, scheduled to open fall of 2012, the University announced yesterday.

The theater will be one tenant in the strand of vacant buildings that the University bought to renovate and revitalize. Five Guys will open in the corridor by the year’s end, with more tenants being announced over the coming months.

“We believe students, staff, and faculty will be interested in this venture,” said University Senior Communications Officer Wendy Parks. “It’s going to bring increased foot traffic, some excitement, especially the entertainment.”

It will be the second theater run by The New 400 Movie Theaters company, which currently operates one other theater, a four-screen cinema in Rogers Park.

The theater will offer a student discount. At their Rogers Park location, general admission is $7.50 and student admission is $6.50 with student ID. Showings before 6 p.m. have the matinée price of $5.00.

Tony Fox, the owner, said in a University press release yesterday that he would talk to Doc Films, which is the only other theater near the University.

Some students involved with Doc Films expressed excitement for the new theater, and weren’t worried about the competition. “It would appeal to a totally different audience,” said Doc Films’s second-year Volunteer Chair Michaeljit Sandhu. “We will be happy that there will be more movies in Hyde Park.”

Parks said the new theater will bring jobs to the area and that the University kept the community as a top concern in the development, which was planned to save the empty set of buildings along Hyde Park Avenue. “It was a good fit... Fox is committed to community service and having a business that can be sustainable in the community,” she said.