The Harper Theater in Hyde Park at 5238 Harper Street was listed on Landmarks Illinois’ Chicagoland Watch List in 2008-09. After several failed attempts to revitalize this building, in 2011 the theater and adjacent buildings were rehabilitated into a four‐screen, 389 seat movie venue with adjoining multiple uses. The first step in the project was the restoration of the brick and white terra cotta on the façade. All the fine architectural details were restored by using original shop drawings, which helped to repair and replace damaged terra cotta pieces throughout the building. On the interior, the space was reconfigured to meet the needs of modern users and provide for more intimate, individual, film theaters with better viewing angles. Lastly, a replica marquee was created and installed to take the place of the original that was removed decades earlier.
Since reopening, the Harper Theater has engaged the Hyde Park neighborhood of Hyde Park and returned a local icon to the community. It has sold out shows for first run/independent films since its re‐opening. This restoration was the University’s first step toward place‐making and revitalization along 53rd street, with Harper Court Redevelopment and a Hyatt Place Hotel coming soon.