New Owners Want to Dump Historic Facade of Century Shopping Centre

By Serena Dai on May 16, 2013 6:26am | Updated on May 16, 2013 10:36am

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 New owners of the building at 2828 N. Clark St. are considering getting rid of the historical front in favor of more windows for retail, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said he was told.
Century Shopping Centre May Lose Historical Facade
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LAKEVIEW — The new owners of the Century Shopping Centre want to ditch the historical façade of the building erected in 1925 and put in more windows, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) told neighbors this week.

The owners seek to replace the historic front of the building at 2828 N. Clark St. with windows so that more retail or medical offices could be put in, Tunney said he was told in a meeting. Since the building is not landmarked, the city has little recourse against the change.

Bai Century LLC, a joint venture of Israeli companies based out of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., owns the property, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. The property was acquired in 2011. The building's senior property manager Lori Stein, with company NAI Hiffman, has been working with Tunney's office, said Erin Duffy, the alderman's communications director.

Stein said she had no comment on the potential change but would have more information to share in three weeks.

Century Shopping Centre is home to Landmark Theatres' Century Centre Cinema and such shops as Victoria's Secret, L.A. Fitness and L.A. Tan. The developers have not submitted permit requests for changes.

Century was built in 1925 as "The Diversey Theatre" for vaudeville and photoplay theater for live acts, according to the shopping center's website. The interior has been transformed several times since then. It was turned into a movie theater before World War II and became a mall in the 1970s.

In 1999, escalators and the Landmark's seven-screen arthouse movie theater were added.

Soon, the interior will be changing again: Landmark theater is adding a lounge and bar area, projected to finish in July.

Whether or not changes to the outside can be stopped, Tunney said he would request that the developers present the plans to South East Lake View Neighbors before moving forward. 

"I didn't want you to hear from other people," he said.

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