Alderman Brendan Reilly sent out an email to his constituents yesterday announcing that the old Esquire Theater in the Gold Coast will be converted into a retail complex. Some of the exterior walls will remain, as will the vertical 'Esquire' sign. The marquee will go, though, and the Oak Street frontage will include up to five retail spaces; two more commercial spaces will be located on the upper floors. And there'll be trees on the second floor! "Activating this extensive frontage on Oak Street, which has been essentially lifeless over the past few years, will revitalize the area with increased pedestrian activity in one of Chicago's premier shopping districts," writes Reilly in the email. Back in 2008, the Esquire was set to be demolished to make way for a boutique hotel. At least some of the old building is being preserved, right? Lynn Becker doesn't share Reilly's enthusiasm: "All sense of the original building is now lost," he writes."Will the sign even be lighted? It's just a collection of artifacts. Why not just paste the sign, which is, itself, a replica, on a new building and be done with it?"
· Esquire Theater goes the way of the Cheshire Cat [ArchitectureChicago PLUS]
· New Plan for Chicago’s Old Esquire Theater [Chicago Architecture Blog]