Nortown Theater

From HistoryWiki

Nortown Theater

6320 N. Western Avenue

Chicago, IL 60659

Status: Closed/Demolished

Style: Art Deco, Atmospheric

Seats: 2086

Architect: John E. Oldaker Pridmore

Opened on April 4th, 1931, the Nortown was an atmospheric theater which was known for it striking sea horse, mermaid, and zodiac motifs. It was designed by J.E.O. Pridmore. The Nortown was located in the West Ridge neighborhood on Western Avenue near Rosemont Avenue.

It once featured a 3/15 Wurlitzer theater organ.

The theater closed in 1990 after an unsuccessful triplexing in 1984 and was afterward used as a community center and still later, as a church.

Unfortunately, the Nortown was demolished in June-August 2007. A great deal of the theater's decorative terracotta and plaster was salvaged before the building was torn down. Condominiums and two small cinemas (which will cater to Pakistani and Indian audiences), along with retail space, were supposed to replace the Nortown. However, as of early 2011, this has yet to happen and the site is an empty lot.

Old Nortown Theater Lot on Western Avenue To Become a Wendy's

by Linze Rice, Thursday, January 28, 2016 5:37 a.m.

WEST RIDGE — The site where the old Nortown Theater was built in 1931 along Western Avenue will soon become a Wendy's fast food restaurant, according to records.

In December, city officials approved a building exception for the drive-through restaurant, sponsored by Alderman Debra Silverstein (50th), and the Wendy's website lists a new location coming to 6324 N. Western Avenue.

The property at 6324-46 N. Western Ave. was the home to the Nortown Theater from 1931-90 and was known for its nautical architectural themes before trying to transition into the multiplex movie theater scene in 1984. The theater even housed a Wurlizer organ before it was demolished in September 2007.

The lot almost became a six-story condo building with retail and parking, property records show.

In January 2007, property owner and Dunkin' Donuts mogul Amrit Patel hired VOA Associates for work on the lot. By December 2008 VOA said in court documents it had "satisfactorily performed services" — but was still owed $90,746 by Patel.

Patel also built the Monsoon Plaza across the street, which he planned to develop before the market crashed in 2008. The plaza was recently bought by BMW dealership owner Joe Perillo, though it's not expected to become a car lot.

In May 2012, the property was foreclosed upon (in 2009 alone Patel faced 14 foreclosures and more than $28.4 million in owed fees — including $8.8 million for Monsoon Plaza's construction) and by October it was bought by developer Adrian Tudor.

Tudor was sued by the city in February 2013 for various code violations at the site, and in April he signed off as the owner.

In October 2013, the city settled with Tudor, who agreed to pay $748 in fines and litigation fees, and legal documents show Tudor admitted to storing and parking vehicles at the property since December 2012.


RPWRHS photo S088-006 shows Nortown Theater, 6320 N. Western Avenue, - Interior, circa 1940.

RPWRHS photo L009-0293 shows a street scene on Western Avenue looking North from Rosemont Avenue. Nortown Theater to the left (West) of CTA Bus 9705. Photo: August 15, 1990.