Shopping center's first phase of renovation complete
The completion of the first phase of renovation of the Hyde Park Shopping Center was celebrated last weekend by the center's merchants -- including three new shopkeepers -- along with patrons and local officials.
The center at 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue is being completely renovated, from exterior finishes to lighting to the courtyard that serves as the south entryway.
"We think that the completion of phase one will contribute to a festive holiday season, and we hope that, in the longer term, the 'new' center will enhance the quality of life in Hyde Park," said Alexander Sharp, chairman of the board of Lake Park Associates, a subsidiary corporation of the University that owns the shopping center.
Among the officials present for Saturday's festivities were Valerie Jarrett, commissioner of planning and development for the city; Amy Lozano, South Side planning coordinator; Alderman Toni Preckwinkle and Alderman Larry Bloom.
The shopping center includes three new merchants -- Euro Kids, offering European fashions and footwear for children; Spauldings, offering fine apparel for women; and Caffe Tutti espresso bar -- as well as Cohn & Stern men's clothing, Joyce's Hallmark card and gift shop, Wesley's Shoe Corral, Fannie May Candies, the Hyde Park Cooperative supermarket, Walgreen Drug Store and Woolworth's.
Grand-opening festivities will continue this weekend with Family Day on Saturday, Dec. 11, featuring "That Lovable Purple Dinosaur" from noon to 2 p.m.; pictures with Santa in Kris Kringle's cottage from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; an arts and crafts workshop with artists from Hyde Park Art Center from noon to 3 p.m.; clowns, magic and balloons from noon to 3 p.m.; horse-drawn "sleigh" rides from 1 to 4 p.m.; and music by the Chicago Children's Choir at 1:30 p.m.
On Sunday, Dec. 12, Santa will be available for pictures from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., sleigh rides will be offered from 1 to 4 p.m., and the Crescats will perform from 1 to 3 p.m.
Picture-taking with Santa will be featured daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, through Friday, Dec. 24. Other special events include a holiday crafts and decorations workshop with artists from Hyde Park Art Center from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, and sleigh rides from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19.