Northlight Theatre officials today announced that they've signed an option agreement to purchase a building in downtown Evanston at 1012-1016 Church St.
"We are actively fundraising and developing plans to purchase the building by the end of the year," said a spokesperson for the theater company.
The plan is to "build a new theatre on this site that will be transformational for Northlight and will enhance downtown Evanston."
"Our new theatre will be a stand-alone, two-to-three story building that does not involve a developer," Cathy Taylor, the spokesperson, said.
She added that Northilight will continue to operate in its current location at the North Shore Center in Skokie at minimum through the end of the 2020-21 season.
County Recorder of Deeds records indicate the current owner of the property, New York-based Fairway Evanston LLC, acquired the building in a foreclosure sale in 2009.
Northlight, which has an annual budget of roughly $3.5 million, has launched a $20 million fundraising campaign for the new project.
1012-1016 Church St. (Google Maps)
The existing building on the front of the site houses the Evanston Rocks music hall and the related Rock N Ravioli and Bourbon N Brass venues along with the vacant restaurant space formerly occupied by Thai Sookdee.
Reportedly Amy Morton's The Barn restaurant will continue to operate at its current location at the rear of the site.
In 2017 Northlight proposed to build a new theater on Sherman Avenue downtown at the base of what would have been a 395-foot tall hotel and rental apartment tower, but withdrew those plans last year in the face of community opposition.
Northlight got its start in Evanston in 1974, initially performing at the then-empty Kingsley Elementary School, and later was housed for four years in the since-demolished Coronet Theater on Chicago Avenue before relocating to Skokie in 1997.