In May 2007 the Strand Theater was victim of a fire that destroyed much of the 90 year old structure. After the fire, the building was donated by private owners to the Evanston Urban Renewal Agency.
The stabilization project on the Strand was completed in 2008. Since then, there have been three subsequent phases of work on the project.
Facade improvements included Restoring the historic metal parapet cap, installing new storefront windows and doors and new widows on the upper facade. This phase of work was completed in February of 2011.
As the facade and roof restoration were completed the community began to question the plan to renovate the Strand Theater as a single story office or retail space. At that time the community and the Evanston Urban Renewal Agency (EURA) came together and formed the Friends of the Strand Theater Committee. With the support of the community the decision was made to renovate the Strand as a performing arts center, now officially called the Evanston Cultural Center.
With this new direction and a clear goal for the completed project, the next two phases of work began; first, schematic design for a completed theater and second, a new awning and signage to promote the cultural center. The schematic renderings, floor plans and elevations have been completed and approved. The signage and awning project was completed in early 2012. The remainder of the work has just been completed with the opening show scheduled for April 2015.