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Avalon Regal Theater not in ‘Open House Chicago’ this year — but maybe in 2019

A mural on the outside of the Avalon Regal Theater features musicians like Louis Armstrong. | Max Herman/For the Sun-Times

The Avalon Regal Theater in South Shore will not be featured in the Chicago Architecture Center’s “Open House Chicago” this weekend despite efforts to get the building up to code for several weeks.

Owner Jerald Gary had planned to be in court Wednesday to discuss progress he’d made on the building. Two years ago, citing safety concerns, the city ordered the building vacated.

But Circuit Judge Lisa Ann Marino was not at the Daley Center, so Gary’s hearing has been rescheduled for Nov. 14.

Regardless, Gary said the building was nowhere close to being ready before “Open House Chicago,” which is Oct. 13-14. He would not comment on whether the $150,000 worth of repairs on the building — which Gary previously confirmed were to be funded by Kanye West — have begun.

“We’re obviously disappointed we’re not going to be ready to show off the Avalon Regal Theater this weekend, but we’re still excited to have [West] at the table … and committed to the project,” Gary said.

A promotional flyer for a show at the then-New Regal Theater from 1994 featuring a young Kanye West. Courtesy of Jerald Gary

Eric Rogers, manager of “Open House Chicago,” said in a statement he is also disappointed the theater will not be included in this year’s programming, but remained hopeful the repairs will be complete in time to “open the theater up for visitors during Open House Chicago 2019.”

Rogers suggested visitors hoping to see architectural wonders in South Shore this weekend should check out the WGN Flag & Decorating Co., “the only place you can go in the city to see Chicago flags being manufactured,” the Windsor Beach Apartments, and Catholic churches Our Lady of Peace and St. Philip Neri.

West’s involvement in reopening the theater has garnered significant attention since tweeting about it last month.

Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) met with Gary and West on Monday at City Hall to discuss the state of the historic movie palace and the duo’s vision for what it can become.

Harris said Wednesday’s setback is unfortunate but ultimately unimportant.

“I don’t know when or how fast the theater will be ready to go, but we’re gonna get there. We’re all working together to make it happen,” she said.

West recently has doubled-down in his support of President Donald Trump, but Harris doesn’t think that will hinder efforts to revive the 91-year-old Avalon.

“We can put politics aside for the greater good of the community. We don’t always have to agree on every issue,” she said. “I am willing to work with Mr. West on the issues we can agree on, and that’s restoring the [Avalon] Regal Theater.”