South Shore’s Regal Mile Studios receives city approval

Proposed Regal Mile Studios

The Regal Mile Studios, a proposed $60 million film studio planned for Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood received preliminary approval from a Chicago commission. The Plan Commission unanimously approved a proposal for a “state-of-the-art media campus” with 220,000 square feet of studio space on a 6.5-acre plot in the far southwest corner of South Shore.

A development team led by ID8 Ventures in which Derek Dudley, producer of Showtime’s The Chi, is a partner and Loop Capital Markets submitted an application for a zoning change for the South Shore properties in late May.

On Thursday, July15, the Chicago Plan Commission was presented with proposal (O2021-2086) by Regal Mile Studios to build a film studio and “supporting offices” including a communication service establishment, an office, parking space and other uses at 1431-1525 E. 77th St. in the 5th Ward near the Chicago Skyway. According to a presentation from the city’s planning department, Regal Mile Studios added a public plaza to the development at the community’s request. The proposal includes multiple studios and a one-story green room. In addition to 250 construction jobs, the film studio is expected to bring about 300 production jobs and 34 permanent full-time studio jobs.  

ALSO READ: The Chi producer plans $60M film studio on South Side

The film studio would take over an empty, triangular parcel near the Chicago Skyway. Years ago, it was the site of a Kmart. Despite drawing its name from the nearby Regal Theater, there has been no official word if the Regal Mile Studios project will incorporate the theater at 1641 E. 79th St. In 2019, we were told that Kanye West committed to pledging $1 million dollars towards the renovation and reopening of the theater. On the Regal Miles Studio website, the theater is featured as a historic building that served as the epicenter for Black entertainment in its peak during the 1960s. 

Zoning documents show Dudley has the support of an owner of the property, Kmart, now part of a spinoff from Sears Holdings. The city currently owns a portion of the land, however, the Community Development Commission agreed to sell it to Regal Mile for $31,000.

A quote by Kwame Amoaku, Director, Chicago Film Office on Regal Studios website reads, “The Regal Studios Project represents a vital source of infrastructure for the film industry in the City of Chicago.  It also represents a major cultural revolution for the South Side of Chicago by providing a catalyst for the development of an arts and entertainment district for this underserved area of the city.”

ID8 Ventures intends to begin construction of Regal Mile Studios by the fall, and aspire to open it by late 2022 or the beginning of 2023

According to their website, ID8 Ventures LLC was established in 2018 when entertainment manager & producer Derek Dudley joined forces with finance partners, entrepreneurs & real estate developers Joseph Dabbah & Susan Cronin Deutsch to create positive change in communities that need it the most. The website also boasts that Amazon, Disney, and Netflix have all expressed interest in doing business in Chicago, the Hollywood of the Midwest. 

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