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CHICAGO-The city’s department of planning and development is betting the timing is better now for the sale of the former Ramova Theater at 3518-20 S. Halsted St., as well as two vacant lots across the street at 3531-45 S. Halsted St. The community development commission has rejected two offers for the property, and gave planners approval last week to issue another request for proposals.

The two parties making offers for the Jazz Age movie house failed to meet financial qualifications, says Albert Acevedo of the department of planning and development.

The last request for proposals was issued more than a year ago, Acevedo notes. Since the November 2002 deadline, other prospective purchasers have surfaced, he adds. “In the last two months or so, we’ve gotten several entities showing interest,” Acevedo says.

Like the previous request for proposals, the department is hoping to attract a high-quality theater operation with retail or commercial uses, Acevedo says. Drug stores, banks and “dollar” stores are frowned upon, he adds.

Redevelopment of the Ramova Theater could complement a mixed-use project at the northwest corner of 35th and Halsted streets, says 11th Ward Alderman James Balcer, where South Central Bank will occupy ground-floor retail space below 60 condominiums.

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