CHICAGO (CBS) — More changes are coming to the vibrant stretch of Broadway that runs through the East Lakeview neighborhood – and they don’t all involve Wal-Mart.
Published reports say plans are moving ahead for an outpost of Los Angeles’ Laugh Factory comedy club in the former Lakeshore Theater space at 3175 N. Broadway, following rumors going back fo February. The esteemed comedy club had planned for a red-carpet opening in June, but it was postponed, the Chicago Sun-Times reported last month.
The Lakeshore Theater, a comedy performance venue laid out in an auditorium style, closed its doors in April 2010 as revenues sank. It had operated since the fall of 2002 in the space of the old Broadway Cinema movie theater, which had closed about two years earlier.
Racked Chicago says “A-listers” are expected for the grand opening of the new Laugh Factory, but no names have been revealed.
Meanwhile, Racked Chicago reports just to the south of the Lakeshore Theater, a decidedly mature tenant is set to take over the old Reckless Records space at 3161 N. Broadway, which has been vacant since the record store moved across the street two years ago.
Racked reports a Hustler Hollywood boutique – an outpost of the Larry Flynt empire that will sell adult videos, magazines and gadgets – is planned for the space. The Web site cites a “discreet” construction permit reading “HH-Chicago LLC” as the owner, with a Beverly Hills, Calif., address.
The Web site EveryBlock.com reported that a limited business license was issued to Hustler Hollywood Entertainment in March for a store at the address.
As it happens, a similar store used to operate in the other of the two storefronts in the very same building. The Pleasure Chest operated for many years at 3155 N. Broadway before moving to a new location at Lincoln and Newport avenues in 2006. The old Pleasure Chest storefront also remains vacant.
And while a new adult-oriented store is apparently coming to Broadway, an old one has gone away. Adult Fantasy at 2928 N. Broadway, an old-fashioned adult bookstore with private video viewing booths, had operated under various names since the 1970s and was a throwback to a seedier era on the street. But in recent days, the store quietly closed its doors.
Of course, the world’s largest retailer has been making most of the headlines for East Lakeview retail in recent months.
Last week, reports revealed that Wal-Mart is planning on not one, but two, stores on Broadway in the East Lakeview neighborhood. Crain’s Chicago Business reported last week that the retailer had already signed a lease for a 14,086 square-foot store in the historic building at 3636 N. Broadway, which has been vacant since the Recycled Paper Greetings card company moved out in 2007.
Wal-Mart has been making headlines, and generating controversy, for another planned store in the Broadway at Surf retail complex, at 2840 N. Broadway, since last December. In that space, the retailer is planning a 30,000 square-foot Neighborhood Market focused primarily on groceries, which would take over vacant spaces once occupied by Wolf Camera and PetSmart, and sweep out an existing Cost Plus World Market.
For several months earlier this year, neighbors protested against the proposed store, saying it would decimate the many locally-owned small businesses along Broadway and other nearby commercial strips, and permanently change the character of the neighborhood for worse. There were also concerns that Wal-Mart might expand to the entire building.
There have been no reports of a lease being finalized at the Broadway at Surf site, but if a lease is signed, that store will open in the spring of 2012.