(Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
Contrary to a widely circulated story from earlier this week, Jay-Z and Beyoncé have not purchased a historic Southside Chicago theatre.
The rumor that went about the Internet claimed the celebrity couple purchased the Regal Theatre found on 79th Street for an estimated $250,000. NBC Chicago reported that while the 1920s era building was indeed under contract, an anonymous source connected to the sale stated that the celebrities were not involved.
"Jet Magazine reported the South Side theater was purchased for $250,000. The FDIC confirmed the building is under contract but would not confirm on the record the celebrities were behind the deal," reported NBC. "A source familiar with the deal who wished to remain anonymous because of the pending sale, however, said the Beyonce and Jay Z rumor is inaccurate."
Bill Zwecker, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, also quoted a source identified as "a close business associate of Jay-Z" who commented that "I have heard nothing about it. … except by reading about all the rumors that have been posted today."
Opened in 1927 as the Avalon Theatre, the approximately 2,500-seat auditorium is known for its exotic Middle-Eastern influenced interior. In its time, the space has been used as movie house, a worship space for Miracle Temple Church, and by the 1980s a venue for the performing arts.
Management would eventually close the theatre in 2003 because of declining attendance for events. According to cinematreasures.org, Regal would be reopened in 2007 as a venue for various live performances, only to be closed again in 2010.
Rumors over Jay Z and Beyoncé purchasing the site appear to have stemmed from an article at the entertainment website gumbumper.com. Beginning with the statement "Rumor has it" and posted by "Tracy" on Tuesday, the article claimed the couple purchased the theatre but offered no further details.
The connection between the new contract on the Regal Theatre and the couple likely stemmed from a recent trip that Jay Z and Beyoncé took to the Second City. From there, the news went about the Internet, being reported by publications like Ebony, sandrarose.com, and americapreachers.com.
At americapreachers.com, a post from Wednesday stated that once reopened under the couple the facility would feature entertainment both secular and religious. "Sources say entertainment will include top hip-hop and RnB artist, comedians, and gospel performers," wrote the unnamed poster.
"Yes, that right. Mr. Shawn Corey Carter and his lovely wife Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter's new venue will host top gospel artist's concerts."