Sutton Council is looking for an ambitious partner to transform the former Chicago Rock Cafe, known locally as Chicago’s, into a new cultural hub for the borough.
The new venue, set to open in 2023, will be an innovative mixed-use cultural space offering performing arts classes, live performances and a food hall.
The Council will work with an experienced culture or leisure organisation on the design and running of the new venue, which will replace the Chicago’s nightclub that has stood empty since 2013. In line with the Council’s commitment to reach net-zero by 2030, it is asking for proposals that deliver a carbon neutral venue.
The Council, which owns the site, recently secured £11.35 million from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund to deliver the renovation of the building alongside three other projects which will provide opportunities for new creative enterprises in the town centre. The transformation of Chicago’s was central to the Council’s successful funding bid, and is the first of the projects to get started.
The projects are part of the Council’s vision for an inclusive, green and attractive town centre with great shopping, eating and entertainment, alongside new community spaces and places for innovation and entrepreneurship.
As well as the Future High Streets Fund projects, the Council has already delivered the transformation of Market House, which houses a community hub and the Sound Lounge live music venue. The local authority is also working to create the Sutton Works co-working space and business incubator in the upper parts of the former BHS department store.
Councillor Jayne McCoy, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “The council is driving the transformation of our town centre, and repurposing Chicago’s into a cultural space for the whole community is an exciting part of that.
We’re looking for an operator who shares our ambition for Sutton and our vision of a vibrant and sustainable town centre. Delivering added value is key; it’s vital the new venue benefits the day and night time economies, but equally important is the contribution it will make to our community, promoting inclusion and tackling the climate emergency.”