Little-known developer partners with Aragon Ballroom in Chicago movie theater project

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Found by Dustin and published by Crain’s:

A little-known developer has partnered with the owner of the Aragon Ballroom and struck a deal with a small movie theater company for his proposed residential and retail development across the street from the legendary concert hall.

James Gouskos, owner of Lawrence Properties LLC, joined with Aragon owner Luis Rossi to buy a vacant site at 1063 W. Lawrence Ave. for a building that would house a nine- or 10-screen movie theater, a 500-car parking garage and 85,000 square feet of retail space. Messrs. Gouskos and Rossi paid $4.6 million for the property earlier this month.

Mr. Gouskos, who lives nearby and has worked on the project for several years, has a letter of intent with Meadow Theatre Group LLC. The Florida-based firm is run by a father and two sons and has one six-screen theater in Keene, N.H. The father, Phil Meadow, operated a 42-theater chain in New England in the late 1970s through the 1980s, according to his son Joshua.

Mr. Gouskos also is still working on plans for a 21-story condominium tower at 4738-50 N. Winthrop Ave., just south of the proposed retail/parking building. The condo tower would have 131 condominiums, four levels of parking and a swimming pool.

“This neighborhood is on a good track,” Mr. Gouskos says.

The residential tower would cost $35 million and the retail/parking building $20 million, says Mr. Gouskos, who is seeking tax-increment financing funds for the retail/parking building. He says he’s close to getting the necessary city approvals to build, and that he hopes to break ground in three to four months.

Mr. Gouskos has tapped Glenview-based Kudan Group to market the retail space. Kudan principal Jeremy Kudan says he’s targeting grocery stores, health clubs and restaurants.

The location should be good for a movie theater, says Barry Schain, a broker and principal with Chicago-based Next Realty LLC who specializes in movie deals. The challenges will come from the difficulty and cost of putting theaters in a multi-story building and providing free or low-cost parking to moviegoers, says Mr. Schain, who is not involved in the project.

“I love that area for a theater,” he says. “I just question the economics and the parking.”

In 2006, Kerasotes ShowPlace Theatres LLC dropped its plan for a 12-screen movie theater as part of the nearby Wilson Yard project, in part because of the high cost of building the necessary multi-level parking garage.

Anonymous's picture

jimmy gouskos

yes from your past jimmy gouskos took many people one older women took all her money art work and gives very little interest if any and is losing her house and older man all his money gives hardly any interest— paid women 1045 interest was suppose to be over40,,000 will not give art work back is that honest ??—— very rude and professes he honest only helps himself was indicted last year for finanical fraud —think he did not do it blames his partner everyone knows about jimmy sold bill to neighborhood when was selling condo w/ arch plans w/ no permits took their deposit bldg not built and never returned their money what does that say ??? what type of a person does that judge for yourself

Anonymous's picture


addendum I always try to give person benefit of doubt thought I could trust him bad mistake ever met him ——-found he—used my money for his personal use and older mans sold us a bill of goods—- like the condos people bought and lost all their money was indicted by cook county states attorney for finanical fraud— took storage sold it or will not return it —yes jimmy did things when he was young and got a slap on hand but got worse when he got older had a pawn shop and who knows what took place there —when he was young called eddie haskell leave it to beaver —but he got away with so much thought it would never end but eventually he got caught again——- but most people grow out of it not him got worse —when you see him you would never think he would do anything like this but even did not pay realtor for selling his condos —people should know about him so be aware of him—- is he improving neighborhood or doing other things ?? judge for yourself be aware—- he was capable of doing a lot of good things but he chose a different path —- the award so he got was for his development endeavors but his title was used wrong way and deceived a lot of people ???—— it is so scary to have people you think are honest take charming focused , but his real character not the one he proports to you focused but the hidden one very troubled——- when one takes all your livelihood from you strip you of any self respect dignity what does he leave left for you ???  judge for yourself??——— is there another bernie madoff on smaller scale judge for yourself—jimmy past caught up w/ him—is this a classic case of sociopathic behavior or what ? judge for yourself and with no conscience how he ruins peoples lives and interrupts their normalcy of life——- he could of gone so far but he chose a path w/ people foreclosed on him all banks loans he will lose everything and potential legal problems and criminal problems he is like a bulldozer —at end was it worth it?? but his past got caught up w/ him and never escaped his past but used it to his advantage——and thought he would never get caught never met someone w/ this pattern who does not pay the price —good question what price will jimmy gouskos pay ??? eventually the price will be too high and house of cards will all fall down —- he will continue fighting because in his mind he is right —— but to his dismay will he hold the trump card ???

Anonymous's picture

Jim Gouskos - Developer?

Do you people not know that Jimmy Gouskos is a crook with many criminal associations going back 20 years?

Aly's picture

You obviously don’t know

You obviously don’t know this man too well to be saying things like that. 20 years is a long time ago, I know he was in high school then so why should you say he’s a crook for his high school life. He’s a great man and only wants to help the area in the development he has.

Tatuuk's picture

Chicago Underworld

Did you know so does mayor Daily, his father, his fathers partners, Verdolic and on and on. It’s hard to not be in the city. The city of Chicago has been touched by every phase of the Outfit and their coherts. Jimmy had absolutly no choice in the matter. It’s just the way things work. If you don’t think so, you are quite mistaken. If you think that we all have choices —- then you’ve never tried to pull a business permit in the city.

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