KANYE WEST VISITS CHICAGO TO EXPLORE REOPENING THE AVALON REGAL THEATER
10/17/2018, noon | Updated on 10/17/2018, noon
Kanye West Visits Chicago To Explore Reopening The Avalon Regal Theater
BY KATHERINE NEWMAN
Alderman of Chicago’s 8th Ward, Michelle Harris, recently met with Kanye West and Jerald Gary, owner of the Avalon Regal Theater, to discuss how the three of them can work together to achieve their common goal of reopening Chicago’s Landmark Avalon Regal Theater and kick-start the revitalization of 79th Street and the surrounding communities.
“We had a great meeting with Mr. West, Mr. Gary, myself, and a few people from the community to talk to Mr. West about his vision for helping the Greater South Side of Chicago. He has a vision for many, many things which happens to include the Avalon Regal Theater,” said Harris.
The historic Avalon Regal Theater has been mostly closed for over a decade and The Chicago Regal Foundation is currently developing a multi-phase investment that will be developed around the juncture of 79th Street, Stony Island Avenue, South Chicago Avenue, and the Chicago Skyway.
The investment plan includes the Avalon Regal Theater as the cornerstone of a larger Arts and Innovation Corridor on 79th Street.
“The Avalon Regal Theater could be the beginning of a transformation that happens on 79th Street. We are trying to change and transform 79th Street and all the positive traffic that would come as a result of the reopening of the Avalon Regal Theater could really change the community almost overnight and help us to rebuild that business district with the right kind of traffic,” said Harris.
There are still several conversations that will need to be had but Harris said she is excited to get the ball rolling and looks forward to what reopening the Avalon Regal Theater could mean for 79th Street and for residents of her Ward.
“This was the first conversation we have had and it was just all of us getting down on the same page and making sure that we are all speaking the same language and singing the same song and we are. This is about transforming communities and rebuilding communities and in particular, rebuilding the Avalon Regal Theater. We were able to talk about how much money it will cost to move the Avalon Regal Theater forward and we talked about what Mr. West’s involvement could and would look like,” said Harris.
Harris said that she believes West is simply motivated to help the community that he was raised in and sees his intentions as pure. “Mr. West’s motivation is simply pure and I have to say that. I didn’t feel that he had an ulterior motive to being here, he just wants to help. This is his hometown, his community, and he grew up here in South Shore, so he identifies with this part of the universe because he spent so much time here. I think it’s all of those things connecting together and him wanting to come and make a difference where he grew up,” said Harris.