Chicago's Goodman Theatre Progresses in Construction of New Space

News   Chicago's Goodman Theatre Progresses in Construction of New Space After breaking ground in April 1998, the nonprofit Goodman Theatre in Chicago reports substantial progress on the construction of its new theatres, as well as its ongoing fundraising campaign.
The structure of the Albert Ivar Goodman Theatre.
The structure of the Albert Ivar Goodman Theatre. (Photo by Photo by Hilary Randle)

After breaking ground in April 1998, the nonprofit Goodman Theatre in Chicago reports substantial progress on the construction of its new theatres, as well as its ongoing fundraising campaign.

Goodman Theatre's new home will be located on a half city block on Dearborn Street between Lake and Randolph Streets in Chicago's North Loop. There are three key elements to the large project: The 830-seat Albert Ivar Goodman Theatre, the 400-seat Owen Bruner Goodman Theatre and the 60,000 square foot Goodman Theatre Center of Chicago.

The Goodman family connection to the theatre dates back to the founding of the current facility in 1925, production sources said. On Dec. 22, Albert Ivar Goodman gave the signal to place the final beam atop the 76 foot-high fly loft in the theatre that will bear his name. Goodman and his mother, the late Edith-Marie Appleton contributed significant theatre naming gifts to the Goodman.

In April 1998, when ground was broken on the project, costs were estimated at $44 million. Today they have risen to $51.8 million. According to a company paper statement, the theatre has amassed $26 million in gifts/pledges and continues to work towards its share of the funding -- a $33 million fundraising goal. In addition, the City of Chicago has contributed the remaining $18.8 million necessary for the project.

The new theatres are being built on the sites of four former theatres -- the historic site of the Garrick and Woods theatres, as well as the landmark site of the Harris and Selwyn theatres. All work is being done according to the appropriate regulations for preserving landmark buildings, including incorporating existing structures into new construction. The Goodman Theatre project will anchor Chicago's bid to revitalize its cultural life with a "thriving theatre district in Chicago's North Loop," that will restore a reputation the city first earned a century ago.

Production sources said a tally of the combined available seats in Chicago's Cadillac Palace, the Chicago Theatre, the renovated Ford Center and the new Goodman meant that there would be a possible 9,000 audience members attending performances each night. The Goodman could generate as much as $40 million in overall economic activity in its first year. This breaks down into $9.7 million in direct spending, an estimated $22.96 million in indirect spending, as well as audience spending of $5.02 million.

The Goodman Theatre Center of Chicago, will be a four-story, 60,000 square foot complex comprising restaurant, retail and office space that will be connected to the new Goodman Theatre. No residential space is planned, a Goodman source told Playbill On-Line.

"We don't have the air rights, they belong to Liz Taylor," the Goodman spokesperson said.

Asked if there had been any discussion about the air rights and whether the theatre or Taylor had made a determination about future development, the spokesperson said there had been no communication with Taylor.

The architects for the Goodman project are KPMB Architects and DLK Architecture.

-- By Murdoch McBride