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Recognizes the Auditorium Theatre with Chicago Landmark Award for Preservation Excellence

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August 9, 2002
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CHICAGO – The City of Chicago’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks recently honored the 113-year-old Auditorium Theatre as one of 16 buildings to win recognition in the 2001 Chicago Landmark Awards for Preservation Excellence program, announced Michael R. Haney, President of Chicago-based Newcastle Limited, which is providing development management services for the $13,000,000 two-year renovation on behalf of the Auditorium Theatre Council. Newcastle is a national real estate advisory and development firm serving not-for-profit organizations, institutions, investors, corporations and governmental agencies.During 2001 the commission’s Permit Review Committee selected the winning projects after reviewing more than 700 buildings, all designated by the City Council as individual Chicago Landmarks or as part of a Chicago Landmark District. According to Commission Chairman David Mosena, Chicago has more than 170 individual landmark buildings, monuments and sites, and 34 designated landmark districts totaling approximately 4,500 structures.

Since Mayor Richard M. Daley took office in 1989, 115 designations have been made.“Diverse project like these demonstrate the important contributions that building owners make to the preservation of our city’s rich historic and architectural heritage,” said Mosena. “We are proud to recognize their outstanding and important work for preserving these building and keeping them in active use,” he said.In 2000, the State of Illinois’ Department of Commerce and Community Affairs awarded $13,000,000 to the Auditorium Theatre Council for its continuing renovation initiatives, and Phase One of the current renovation project was launched. “The first phase, completed last summer on time and on budget, included the extensive renovation of the original painting, mosaics and murals; an improved lobby; and the installation of new carpeting,” said Haney. “When the final phase of this renovation program is completed, it will be a significant step in restoring the theater to its original glory while positioning it to compete in the 21st Century,” he said.Phase Two of the renovation began on May 1 of this year and is scheduled for completion in September. This phase focuses on an extensive overhaul of the theater’s “back of house” areas including the demolition of the existing stage; construction of a new stage and trap; construction of a new orchestra pit with associated lift equipment, including movable seating and storage areas; selective demolition beneath the stage and seating areas; installation of basic mechanical, plumbing and electrical infrastructure beneath the stage and seating areas to allow for future expansion; installation of new electric supply to serve existing and future theater expansions; improvements to existing dressing rooms; creation of new wardrobe and laundry rooms in the basement; and renovation painting of the top of the historic stage reducer curtain.

In presenting the prestigious award, the selection committee wrote the following description of the Auditorium Theatre:

This restoration of the historic Auditorium Theatre’s magnificent arched ceiling included decorative plaster repair and repainting, the application of long-gone gold-leaf and missing stenciled designs, and the replacement of hundreds of individual light bulbs outlining the arches with ones with more historically accurate bulb shape and filament to more closely match the original illumination. Detailed historic paint analysis and research were undertaken as part of the project to return the theatre to its opulent original appearance. The theatre is part of the Auditorium Building, designed by the firm of Adler and Sullivan and a National Historic Landmark, designated a Chicago Landmark on September 15, 1976.The Auditorium Building was completed in 1889 and is considered the crowing achievement of famed architects, Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, and their young apprentice, Frank Lloyd Wright. The building’s Auditorium Theatre was immediately acclaimed as on of the most beautiful and functional theaters in the world. The first home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1891-1904), the theatre has hosted countless national political conventions, rock concerts, ballet performances and Broadway shows. In 1970, the Auditorium Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

About Newcastle Limited

Newcastle Limited is a Chicago-based national commercial real estate firm serving governmental agencies, institutions, not-for-profit organizations, corporations and private investors. The firm’s strategic advisory, development and investment services are designed to reduce project risk and maximize asset value. To learn more about Newcastle, call Mike Haney at (312) 683-3113 or visit the company website at www.newcastlelimited.com.