Friday, May 20, 2011

A Sign Of Hope For The Uptown Theatre?

Photo courtesy of
There was an interesting hint of things to come in Time Out Chicago's recent interview with Mayor Emanuel.  A lot more details and specifics than we usually hear when people talk about restoring the Uptown Theatre.

Do we dare to dream, just a little?
TOC:  Uptown has a great untapped resource: the Uptown Theatre. You’ve talked about reviving that as part of a larger-scale plan for that neighborhood as a live-music destination. Jerry Mickelson, cofounder of Jam Productions, which bought the theater in 2008 for $3.23 million, has said he doesn’t have the estimated $70 million needed to get the theater into operational shape.

RE: All I know is that they’re pretty excited right now and they’re working on stuff.*

[* "It's a very complex financing puzzle that we are piecing together," Mickelson says, adding he has never talked to Emanuel about the fate of the Uptown Theatre. "It's a lot of different funding: city, state, federal government, tax credits, charitable donations. You're dealing with a building that's on the National Register of Historic Places, landmarked inside and out. It's not easy to raise $70 million. It takes time, but we are excited that we feel it's starting to come together."]

TOC: So it’s happening.

RE: They’re going to come up with plans and we’ll figure out — we’ll go get to work and we’ll figure out how to do it.

TOC: What can the city do to help?

RE: You’re jumping ahead, dude. How’s that?


  1. Maybe JAM could finish fixing the facades at The Rivera ( that has been covered for over 2 years) and replace the burned out lights at the Aragon first... baby steps...

  2. 70 million is an incredible sum and probably low balled. As skeptical as I am that such a massive amount of cash will be pumped into this neighborhood in this economic climate, IF it were to happen, talk about a bellwether.

  3. Rob - agree with you on the JAM fixing the Riv up. It looks like a dump. If they put a little effort into that, they might look more favorable in the eyes of the public.

    As far as the Aragon - they don't own it. Just promote some shows there.

  4. Rahm can put his new casino in the Uptown. That would easily pay for itself!

  5. What a dump that Riv is, a little paint isn't too expensive, is it?

  6. A casino in Uptown sounds like a disaster in the making.

  7. A Casino in Uptown? That would be AWESOME! IP would be in heaven.

  8. Its nice to have a Mayor that uses the word dude!

    I was thinking it may be an option to restore the stunning and large lobby first. Then it could be rented out for weddings, Black Tie affairs and the like. Besides raising revenue it would really gin-up some interest. Revenue and foot traffic for area business as well.

    It would be nice to see the diaper removed from the Riv and an interior restoration wouldn't hurt. Diapers are for babies.

    But the Uptown Theater is a separate issue and shouldn't wait!!

    Uptown Theater up and running will be trans-formative to say the least...just check it out:

  9. "It would be nice to see the diaper removed from the Riv and an interior restoration wouldn't hurt. Diapers are for babies."

    I am probably in the minority, but I think the interior of the Riv is cool as it is.

  10. Captain Picard 2015 I agree the interior of the Riv is fitting for was the venue.

  11. This is exactly what TIF Funds were supposed to go to - redevelopment of distressed areas of the city and investment in local cultural attractions, not corporate welfare in the LOOP, and I say this as a strong pro business person. Helping one company over another is cronyism, not capitalism. Jumpstarting a neighborhood is simply good government. Tap dat TIF baby.