Developers seeking TIF funds for Rogers Park theater rehab

Developers are seeking permission to use $200,000 in public money to renovate the building housing the Village North movie theater, a discount venue popular with Loyola University students. 

The project involves replacing the building's terra cotta facade with reinforced concrete, as well as remodeling second-floor offices and landscaping improvements.

At a community meeting about the project on Tuesday, developers said they are seeking to use funds from the area's Tax Increment Finance district to fund part of the  $700,000 project.

TIF districts are established to fund improvements in areas suffering from blight. The TIF diverts a portion of property taxes generated in the district to redevelopment.

The theater building,  at 6738-46 N. Sheridan, also houses a Thai restaurant, a Starbucks, and a bank.

"This reinvigoration of the property would improve the neighborhood and quality of life. I want people to feel safe as they pass by," said Tony Fox, President of ADF Capital, which owns the property.

Some area residents at the meeting said they support the use of public money for building renovations.

"I'm tired of looking at ugly buildings and I hate TIFs, but as long as it benefits me, let's bring it on," said Rogers Park resident Brian Chambers.

Another resident, Betty Griswoldt, agreed.

"He [Fox] needs the help. We need the help. I'm with you 100%."

But some said they were concerned about the future of other businesses in the Plaza.

Another resident, Ami Patel, said she worried about price changes at the Village North.

"I go to the theater a lot because it's a lot more affordable than paying $10 for tickets in Evanston. I want to know how affordable will you keep the theater," she said.

Fox said he is satisfied with the property's current mix of tenants, though ADC does have an eviction order pending against the operator of the theater.

Fox added that he was unsure whether ticket prices would change, and said they are set by the theater operator.