Sales deal signed for New Regal Theater; Jay-Z, Beyonce aren’t in mix
By David Roeder Staff Reporter August 22, 2013 2:34PM
The New Regal Theater in Chicago. | Sun-Times files
Updated: September 24, 2013 6:27AM
The landmark New Regal Theater, 1645 E. 79th St., is under contract to be sold to a Chicago investment firm.
Two sources with knowledge of the deal said the potential buyer is Community Capital Investment Partners LLC, a company that lists its address as the John Hancock Center on its web site. The company reports that it specializes in buying dilapidated homes, fixing them up and leasing them.
Taking on the 2,250-seat theater would be a different challenge. Sources said the ornate building, which dates from 1927, needs substantial structural and façade repairs. A buyer also faces the challenge of booking events for such a large auditorium.
The seller is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which got the property when it closed a local bank. It has marketed the theater for just $99,000 given the need for additional investments in a building that legally cannot be torn down.
An FDIC spokesman declined to reveal the buyer. He confirmed that a sales contract was signed and that the agency is conducting due diligence with the buyer.
Community Capital’s president and chief investment officer is Jerald Gary, whose online biography states that he was a futures trader and a onetime dealer in mortgage-backed securities for Bank of America Corp. Gary did not return phone calls.
The buyer’s identity emerged after reporters began checking Internet rumors that the New Regal was sold to rapper Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce Knowles-Carter. Sources denied their involvement.
The last person to try something with the theater was Regina Evans, a former Country Club Hills police chief who pleaded guilty to charges relating to a grant fraud scheme and is awaiting her sentence. The charges involved a $1.25 million state grant that was supposed to be for job-training. She used some of the money to pay the mortgage on the theater.
The New Regal has been a city landmark since 1992. It used to be called the Avalon but was renamed to honor the former Regal Theater, an historic stage and movie palace at 47th and King Drive that was torn down in 1973 after a devastating fire.