“A much-anticipated addition to Bronzeville’s cultural corridor will receive $26 million since the 2023 state budget has been signed into law.
“The Lillian Marcie Center for the Performing Arts, 4343 S. Cottage Grove Ave., will be on the site of an old Marshall Field warehouse built in 1915. The 22,500-square-foot, two-story space is the centerpiece of a larger initiative that includes plans for a Black performing arts museum, studio space, a restaurant and jazz club.
“Construction of the center is estimated to cost $25 million. The state is providing funding via a grant from the Build Illinois Bond Fund.
“The center is planned to have a 350-seat, multi-level auditorium and a 100-seat space for more intimate performances, along with rehearsal space, dressing rooms and offices. An outdoor gathering area would offer neighbors space to meet.
“Local developer Keith Giles and investor Mike Wordlaw will oversee construction, working with Bronzeville native and actor Harry Lennix to bring his vision of a ‘Black Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ to life.
“The center will complement other efforts to revitalize the 43rd Street corridor, including 4400 Grove — a mixed-use development now home to Bronzeville Winery — and restoration of The Forum, which owner Bernard Loyd hopes to transform into a cultural destination.
“‘Where government has fallen short, and where the church has failed, that’s where culture can come in. I believe it’s an excellent third way, but we need both the church and the state in order to support the culture. I’m especially grateful to all of those who agreed with that sentiment,’ Lennix said.
“A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for September.” (Nesbitt Golden, Block Club Chicago, 4/20/22)
William Ernest Walker Walker was a well-known architect of the period who started his career as a draftsman for Henry Ives Cobb for five years. He also served as Superintendent of Construction for the City of Chicago’s Board of Education. Walker designed many types of buildings across Chicago, including a few luxury apartment towers along Lake Shore Drive. However, large scale warehouses and fireproof apartment buildings were his specialties.
In addition to the Marshall Field & Company Warehouse Stable at 4343 S. Cottage Grove Avenue, William Ernest Walker designed other stables for Marshall Fields, including:
– 3137 N. Halsted – (Briar Street Theater, converted in 1993) permit issued in 1902
– SE corner of 63rd and St. Lawrence Ave (Demolished), 1912
– 858-860 E. 63rd (SW corner of St. Lawrence Ave; Demolished), 1902
Bronzeville’s Lillian Marcie Center, A 350-Seat Theater In The Works, Gets $26 Million In State Funding; The grant will bring actor Harry Lennix one step closer to realizing his vision of a ‘Black Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts,’ Jamie Nesbitt Golden, Block Club Chicago, 4/20/22
Performing arts complex planned for former Marshall Field warehouse; The Bronzeville project will house two theater spaces and the African American Museum of Performing Arts, Jay Koziarz, Urbanize Chicago, 7/13/21