Kanye West donating $1M to restoration of historic South Side theater

The Avalon Regal Theater in South Shore, a 1920s-era movie palace, has been closed since 2003

Chicago /
Mar.March 02, 2019 10:00 AM

The Avalon Regal Theater and Kanye West (Credit: Facebook, Getty)

Kanye West committed $1 million to help restore a Vaudeville-era South Side theater that has been closed since 2003, making good on a promise the rapper made on Twitter last year.

West has already donated enough to restore basic utilities at the 91-year-old Avalon Regal Theater at 1641 East 79th Street, owner Jerald Gary told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Gary paid $100,000 for the theater in 2014 and said he has since spent more than $1 million on refurbishing the 2,250-seat movie palace.

The theater opened as film venue in 1927 and was later adapted to host live performances. It was registered in 1992 as a city landmark.

The building is in the heart of the South Shore neighborhood, a black middle-class lakeshore community that was hit hard by the 2008 foreclosure crisis and has lost population ever since. But in recent years, investors have pumped money into flipping homes in the area. [Sun-Times] — Alex Nitkin


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