A study just released by the City of Evanston looks at three downtown sites as possible new performing arts venues.

The study, conducted by HBRA Architects, was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The full 160-page report is available online.

The three sites were filtered from an initial list of two dozen, and were then used as the models for conceptural plans for three different performing arts spaces:

  • A flexible space for two theaters on Chicago Avenue north of the Woman’s Club of Evanston, labeled “Venue 1” in the map above.
  • A dance/music theater at “Venue 2” on Davis Street at Chicago Avenue
  • A new location for the Northlight Theatre at “Venue 3” on Davis between Elmwood and Maple avenues.

The report concludes that the Varsity Theatre building, frequently the subject of consideration in the past as a downtown performing arts space isn’t a good candidate for use for these new theater uses — because of the high cost of adapting the old building, which has been partially converted to retail uses.

A conceptual rendering of a theater that might be built on “Venue 1” the city parking lot north of the Woman’s Club on Chicago Avenue.

The study concludes with a two page “action plan” listing two dozen bullet points for steps that would need to be taken to actually turn the plan’s concepts into real-life performing arts spaces.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Bad Sites?

    I recognize that this is simply a study and therefore nothing is finalized, but it seems an example of the city's potential mismanagement of its resources.  The area marked Venue 1 – the parking lot NE of the main library is currently being outfitted with a solar canopy for electric vehicles.  This is not an insubstantial investment.  Is the city prepared to go back on this commitment before it has a chance to even partly pay for itself in order to build a new performing arts venue?

  2. City isn’t paying for the solar canopy

    The city isn't paying for the solar canopy.  It is being leased by a private concern.  There are no taxpayer dollars involved.

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