The Harper Theater Buildings in Hyde Park are an important example of Chicago’s traditional mixed-use commercial buildings. The complex is also one of three historic corner buildings still standing at Hyde Park’s important commercial intersection of 53rd Street and Harper Avenue. This intersection is one of the last scraps of the neighborhood’s once extensive commercial district that survive. Many of Hyde Park’s historic commercial buildings were demolished as part of Hyde Park’s infamous Urban Renewal project of the 1950’s. The University of Chicago now owns the Harper Theater Buildings. A redevelopment plan was rejected by the university in 2008 and, currently, the buildings stand empty and unprotected.
Update: On January 10, 2011 The University Of Chicago announced an adaptive reuse and redevelopment plan for the entire complex. The shops on 53rd Street will be renovated for a new retail tenant that has yet to be announced. The former movie theater will once again house a multi-screen movie theater, a much-welcome addition to the 53rd Street retail corridior. The theater, to be called the New 400, is slated to open in the fall of 2012.