The Mall That’s Tearing Down Retail Space

The courtyard at the Roosevelt Collection

The courtyard at the Roosevelt Collection

If you’re the kind of person who hates crowds, you may have already discovered the large, yet virtually empty, mall and residential complex called the Roosevelt Collection (West Roosevelt Road).

There’s little reason to go there other than to see blockbuster movies and have the auditorium to yourself.

In spite of the superior movie-going experience, other retail shops have failed to materialize.  Lots of people have lots of theories about why.  But the new owners are doing something different: They’re reducing the number of vacant storefronts by reducing the number of stores.

The center row of buildings that you see in the photograph above will be razed and replaced with green space.

It’s not a bad idea.  Especially at a place that bills itself as a live-eat-play destination, having that massive driveway out front made it less than inviting.  And when your occupancy rate is 0%, you have nothing to lose.


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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  1. “There’s little reason to go there other than to see blockbuster movies and have the auditorium to yourself.”

    hmm, this tells me you don’t really go there. I live 2 blocks away and this theater it’s always packed. Shows are often sold out which is a feat considering there’s absolutely no other reason to go there (except for the bacon popcorn). I sure hope that the changes bring much needed retail to the area. I nice microbrewery/bar would do very well there

    Post a Reply
    • Editor

      To state that this place is “always packed” is simply not true. The reason I switched from the AMC theater in Streeterville to this theater for my moviegoing is because I don’t like crowds. This is the least populated theater I have been able to find.

      So far this year I’ve seen probably around six movies, all at this theater. Five times, me and the group of people I was with, were the only people in the theater. The sixth time I went to see the new Harry Potter movie three days after it came out, and the auditorium was significantly less than half full.

      It’s nice to be proud of businesses in your neighborhood. I applaud you for being their fan. I am to. I am an Icon member. But I’m not going to pretend that this place is “always packed.” That would be false.

      Post a Reply
  2. The theater is always packed, and the developer nixed that green space idea months ago. Otherwise, great story.

    Post a Reply
    • Editor

      See my comments above. To claim this place is “always packed” is a falsehood.

      As for the greenspace, do you mean the developer, or the owner? They are no longer the same organization.

      As for whether the greenspace idea has been nixed or not, as they say at Wikipedia, “Citation needed.” Last I saw in Crain’s, this was happening. If it has changed, the new owners haven’t made that public as far as I’ve been able to find. Nothing in the Tribune, Sun-Times, or Crain’s. And the Roosevelt Collection’s own “news” page hasn’t been updated since February, 2010.

      If you have some inside information, dish girlfriend. We would all benefit from your knowledge.

      Post a Reply
  3. Ummmm…is that an armored truck picking up cash from the only business in the mall, the movie theater? I think so!

    Post a Reply
    • Editor

      It is an armored truck. The presence of an armored truck doesn’t mean it’s picking up cash. It’s not the 80’s anymore.

      Armored companies provide many banking services to businesses these days. For insurance and safety reasons, large businesses use armored companies for a number of functions. Outbound, employees no longer carry bags to night deposit boxes. Some armored companies will even handle mail between branches of a business, or between the stores and the head office. And employees don’t go to the bank to get change for the cash registers anymore. That is delivered by the armored car company.

      Again, the presence of an armored car doesn’t signify that a movie theater is packed any more than a taxi at a gas station means the gas station’s fuel tanks are full.

      Post a Reply

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