|a drawing of the front lobby, dating from 1926|
(the year after the theater opened)
The Tribune, citing an interview Thursday with Mayor Emanuel, has broken the story that the Uptown Theater will be restored through a private and public partnership.
We know. We know. We've heard it before.
We've had our hopes lifted, and dashed more than once. We read just six months ago the story of how a promising 2015 deal to restore the theater fell apart.
But.... According to the Tribune,
"This is not just another plan for the 4816 N. Broadway flagship of the Uptown neighborhood, insists Mayor Rahm Emanuel. This time it’s for real.An Urban Land Institute study dating from 2000 cites the Uptown Theater's revival as a priority for Uptown to thrive and grow in the new millennium. The ULI panel said, in a report dated November 2000:
Assuming the plan passes the City Council and other regulatory hurdles, the restoration and redevelopment project is slated to begin this fall. Within two years, the boards should be off the windows, the venue open for business and a curious public careening once again down the grand lobby staircase."
"The Uptown Theater must be restored. It is well-known that this will be a difficult and expensive program needing a tremendous amount of public/private cooperation to succeed. However, the theater is truly significant historically and magnificent aesthetically. It is the kind of property of which people will say 'Can you believe that this building was nearly torn down at the beginning of the century?' Future generations will not forgive those who do not attend to this obligation."You can read the Tribune story here for all the details.
In the meantime, we'll watch the 2006 documentary, Portrait of a Palace, and cross our fingers and hope it really, really happens this time.
UPDATE: Ald. Cappleman posted on UU's Facebook page, "I can't tell you how hard it was to keep this a secret. The business plan to make this happen was in place by the end of March 2016 and it took all this time to put all the financing together and work out other details on construction.
All I can say is that this is a game changer for Uptown. More about this will be in my newsletter tomorrow."