It’s been a year since Kanye West promised to move back to Chicago. So where is he?
Last year, the icon announced a course at the Art Institute, a Yeezy office in Chicago and an investment in the Avalon Regal Theater. We followed up on what’s happened since.
“I’m moving back to Chicago, and I’m never leaving again.”
It was to a crowd full of teenagers that Kanye West made the declaration one year ago Tuesday. They screamed, jumped out of their seats, cried, clapped and chanted his name.
A week before that, the superstar shot off a series of tweets that also seemed to promise his return to his hometown. “We’re putting a Yeezy office in Chicago.” “We’re doing Chicago Comedy Jam. We’re going to restore the Regal Theater.” “I will teach a course at the Art Institute of Chicago and the American Academy of Art.”
But a year after West said those things, there are no concrete signs that the wildly successful musician is, as the song says, “coming home again.”
In February, West invested $1 million in South Shore’s historic Avalon Regal Theater, but owner Jerald Gary said though he’s been in “constant contact” with West’s team and that his people have returned to follow up on the renovation process, West himself hasn’t been back since that first visit.
“There’s not a lot we can say about what we’re doing until it’s actually been done, but he’s definitely involved with the project and has seen it through,” said Gary. In a statement provided after that call, he said the money West invested is being used to begin construction. He expects to open the theater sometime in 2020.
The only listed location for a Yeezy office is in Calabasas, California, and calls to the office were not returned. And an Art Institute spokesperson said West doesn’t have any plans to teach a class there, and never has. As for the American Academy of Art, there has been no announcement from the school regarding a course taught by West since he tweeted about it.
If the Chicago Comedy Jam event West was referring to was the Chi City Comedy Jam, now called the Sweetest Day Comedy Jam, a representative for the Arie Crown Theater, where the event is booked this year on Oct. 19, said West has had no involvement and wasn’t at the event last year.
Multiple high-end realtors, including one who has worked with West’s protégé, Chance the Rapper, say they’ve heard nothing to indicate West has a place in Chicago. In the meantime, the Yeezy mogul has planted roots elsewhere: in Wyoming.
West recently purchased a $14 million ranch in Cody, about 50 miles from Yellowstone National Park, and he has been touring elementary schools in the area, according to some reports. Saturday, Kardashian West posted a photo from the ranch with daughters North and Chicago.
“His dream and his vision is to move there. I love L.A., so I envision summers, I envision some weekends,” Kim Kardashian West told Jimmy Fallon on his show Wednesday night.
Back in April, West’s “dream” had been to move to Chicago. He appeared on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” discussing the potential move with his wife.
“We’re moving to Chicago,” he told her. “That’s the vibe, babe. It feels good.”
On the show, Kardashian West offered the option of keeping a property here for occasional and seasonal visits. West agreed, “We’re not going to move full-time.”
“But we will spend time there, because that’s my home too.”
While fans speculate where the famous family might reside if they do buy property here, West has been making occasional appearances across the city throughout the past year. Last week, he brought his Sunday Service to Northerly Island, hosting a crowd of thousands of locals.
Former Sun-Times real estate editor Don DeBat said if West does decide to take up residence in Chicago one day, the rapper, who grew up in a house in South Shore, might consider a sprawling mansion in nearby Woodlawn, giving his four kids plenty of room to run around.
Or a glass-wrapped mega condo in Gold Coast or Streeterville, so he and Kim can be near the athletes and other celebrities who blow off steam there. There’s plenty of availability in Trump Tower, DeBat said.
“He gets along with Donald Trump, so that might be the obvious choice,” said DeBat. “But this guy’s got so much money, he could live anywhere.”