Group to scope out Varsity prospects

Downtown Evanston plans to investigate prospects for turning the vacant second floor of the former Varsity Theater building into a performing arts space.

The Varsity Theatre building at 1710 Sherman Ave.

The downtown marketing group’s executive director, Carolyn Dellutri, told aldermen last week that the group plans to form a task force that will bring in experts in theater redevelopment — including an architect, a programmer and a fundraiser — to research the feasibility of the project.

The Varsity, built as a movie house in the 1920s, was Evanston’s largest single-screen theater until it closed in the 1980s. Its first floor was then converted into retail shops.

Bringing the building back to life as a downtown arts space has been a dream of some residents for decades.

Dellutri says adding more performing and visual arts spaces downtown was one of the goals the group identified at focus group sessions in March.

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