Construction of broadcast museum resumes Monday
Loop North News

Wrigley Field

13-Jun-10 – After being told for years by the state to “please stand by,” the Museum of Broadcast Communications finally has money to resume construction of its building at State & Kinzie Streets.

“The first installment check is in the bank and Pepper Construction starts working this Monday,” said museum president Bruce DuMont on Saturday, a day after Governor Pat Quinn announced a $6 million grant to help the museum finish its 62,000 square foot facility.

The Illinois General Assembly approved the appropriation last October and Quinn signed it into law in November. In February, $500 million in bonds were sold to pay for a capital development fund that includes the MBC project.

Quinn made the announcement at “A Salute To Chicago Television,” an event presented by MBC at the Hilton Chicago on Friday.

Photo by Donald Pointer

(Above) Magician Marshall Brodien, Bozo the Clown, and Rich Koz at an event Friday presented by the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Photo by Donald Pointer.

“I’ve talked to a number of our legislators in Illinois and they have the same feeling as I do, this is something that we need to build,” said Quinn. “There’s a lot of opportunity in our state to create jobs by focusing on tourism and…The Museum of Broadcast Communications can add to our great museums that we have all across Chicago and all across Illinois.”

When construction stopped in May 2006, MBC owed Pepper Construction $4.5 million on a $14 million project. In December 2008, the museum’s board of directors voted to sell the half-finished building after waiting three years for the $6 million in funding to show up. No longer for sale now, the site is appraised at $11.2 million but completed and leased, DuMont has said it would be worth $21.8 million.

DuMont says it will take ten to 12 months to complete the building at 360 North State Street. MBC will occupy space facing State Street and will continue fundraising efforts to pay for exhibits. According to the museum’s web site, 15,000 square feet will house exhibits devoted to television and radio history. 12,000 square feet will be used for the museum’s public programs, screenings, and lectures.

The first floor and basement of the new building will be sold as a “commercial condo unit” for use by a retail business. On the fourth floor will be a special events venue with an outdoor garden terrace facing State Street. The museum will develop the space and an outside hospitality firm will manage it.

The building will not include two restaurants that signed leases in 2008. In October 2008, it was announced that Tamarind, an Asian fusion restaurant, and the nostalgia-themed Johnny Rockets would move into the building when completed. Both restaurants, said DuMont in April, “exercised their options to move on from the deal because construction had not begun due to the state’s inability to fund.”

The museum hopes to participate in the state’s $30 billion per year tourism industry by offering one of only three museums in the nation dedicated to broadcast history. The grant comes from a $31 billion capital plan called Illinois Jobs Now that aspires to revive the state’s economy by creating more than 439,000 jobs over the next six years. MBC estimates its project will create approximately 200 jobs.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

(Above) Museum of Broadcast Communications as seen from 400 North State Street on Monday afternoon. Photo by Steven Dahlman. (Click on image to view larger version.)

 Related story: Museum still waiting for state money to finish new State & Kinzie home

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News |


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