Mayor Richard M. Daley today marked the 10th anniversary of the Chicago Theater District, praising the partnership between the City and theater operators for drawing millions of visitors to downtown Chicago and supporting thousands of jobs for Chicago residents.
“In our ongoing efforts to grow Chicago's economy we've taken many important steps. Today we are here to acknowledge one of our major successes -- the creation of the Chicago Theater District ten years ago,” Daley said in a news conference held in the Cadillac Palace Theater, 151 W. Randolph St.
“The Chicago Theater District not only provides entertainment to the residents of Chicago, but it has strengthened our position as a worldwide convention and tourism destination,” he said.
Daley said that:
- Chicago has more than 800 stage productions every year which draw more than 5 million theater-goers across the city.
- Theater brings tourists, whose dollars support hotels, restaurants, museums, retail stores and jobs for residents.
- Theater provides jobs for actors, artistic designers, and all the other people who work in the theater.
- Theater attracts new residents who come to the city looking for a vibrant arts scene. It helps Chicago’s reputation as an arts destination grow.
“Nowhere are those contributions more evident than in the Theater District, where our vision of a revitalized entertainment area has become a reality through the collaboration of city government with Broadway in Chicago and the League of Chicago Theaters and the Goodman Theater,” the Mayor said.
Daley pointed out that the City has made a strong commitment to the Theatre District with Tax Increment Financing dollars.
He said the City has invested $86 million in downtown TIF funds that have yielded $233 million in private investment.
As a result, the Theatre District has generated an additional 1,000 performing arts jobs here between 1997 and 2009. The four downtown theaters operated by Broadway in Chicago alone have accounted for more than $114 million in stage labor payroll over the last 10 years.
It is estimated that Broadway in Chicago has an annual economic impact on Chicago of $750 million and that Broadway in Chicago productions support more than 9,200 jobs in the City of Chicago.
Daley said the City’s support of the Theatre District has helped renovate landmark theaters and has helped support infrastructure and streetscaping improvements in the neighborhood.
“The Theater District experience speaks volumes about how a public-private partnership can help rejuvenate one of our neighborhoods,” the Mayor said.
“Make no mistake – without the investment and support from the City and the hard work of our Theater District partners, the Loop wouldn’t be as vibrant a place as it is,” he said.
He said that between 1997 and 2008, the Loop saw a 53 percent increase in hotel rooms and 20 percent increase in meeting space. New hotels added services catering to theatergoers and retailers alike. Formerly vacant office buildings have been redeveloped into modern condos, hotels and student dorms.
“While many other cities have seen their downtowns fade away over the last half century, Chicago’s keeps getting better and busier despite the recession.
I think there’s no more vibrant part of what makes up Chicago than our theater community,” Daley said.
“Ten years ago, we believed we could make the historic center of Chicago’s theater scene come alive again. And working together, we have done just that -- and strengthened Chicago's role in the global economy at the same time,” he said.
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