Today, the Elmhurst-First LLC announced its purchase of a property on behalf of the Elmhurst Centre for Performing Arts (ECPA), furthering plans for ECPA to establish a performing arts center in downtown Elmhurst.

The property, 109-119 First Street, is directly across from the Elmhurst Metra station, and considered a strategic location due to its centrality within downtown Elmhurst, accessibility and visibility from public transportation. Additionally, the center-of-town location is expected to bring positive economic impact to restaurants, bars and businesses as projected in the Feasibility and Economic Impact Study conducted jointly between ECPA and the City of Elmhurst.

“I’ve been saying this all along, and now it’s even more true – a performing arts center in Elmhurst will be one of the crown jewels of this city,” said Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley. “I am personally excited about the potential that ECPA has in store for us.”

The effort to understand the viability of a downtown performing arts center began in 2016 when a group of professionals with a common vision developed an interest survey and business plan. They brought experience in theater management, commercial real estate, performing arts and business to the newly formed ECPA, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization in the state of Illinois.

Feasibility studies, individual donors, corporate sponsors, volunteers and community support, have advanced this initiative to this exciting stage, securing a location for the theatre.

“This is a significant milestone in ECPA’s initiative to bring a performing arts center to the heart of Elmhurst,” commented Tom Marcucci, former Mayor of Elmhurst and current ECPA Board Member. “We have done the research and know that building this center will be financially stable.”

One of the members of the Elmhurst-First LLC and local business owner Willis G. Johnson commented, “We are pleased to be a part of the advancement of the ECPA project for Elmhurst and the surrounding suburbs. This investment in our community will help ensure we cultivate local talent and will add a new cultural component to Elmhurst’s vibrant arts and entertainment offerings.” Willis and his wife Shirley own Elmhurst’s York Theater and Tivoli Enterprises Inc/Classic Cinemas.

The next important phase involves design, construction planning and a capital campaign. The capital campaign will target fundraising through large donors including opportunities for naming rights, grants and individual donations.

The First Street building will retain its current retail and residential space for the next four to five years during the planning and capital campaign.

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