Monday, May 21, 2007

Uptown Theatre Rocks

After years of neglect, groups fighting over it

The historic Uptown Theatre, which has defied redevelopment attempts and slowed the resurgence of its neighborhood since closing in 1981, is suddenly a hot property.

Local concert promoter Jerry Mickelson and Block 37 developer Joseph Freed & Associates LLC are battling a group led by real estate investor David Husman over control of the foreclosed 1920s-era landmark, which also has attracted the attention of national concert promoters.

Mr. Mickelson, co-founder of Jam Productions Ltd., wants to restore the 4,500-seat theater, which once hosted Prince, the Grateful Dead and other big acts, as a concert venue. In a foreclosure sale, a buyer may have to pay upward of $3.5 million to satisfy the outstanding mortgages, liens and money the city is owed for repairs. Renovation would cost about $40 million.

The fight for control of the theater reflects the Uptown neighborhood's improving fortunes. That revival would gain momentum from a redevelopment of the cavernous 1925 movie palace, which sits prominently on Broadway, Uptown's main drag.

Click link for full story from Crain's Chicago Business

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