by Chris Jones
Chicago-based Jam Productions bought the historic Uptown Theatre at a forced judicial sale Tuesday, but its new owner says tens of millions of dollars are needed to reopen the venerable entertainment venue. Jam said after the sale that the long-suffering theater won’t reopen without a major infusion of public money. “Buying the Uptown is one thing, rehabbing it is another,” said Jam principal Jerry Mickelson, whose UTII entity paid $3.23 million for the Uptown, at 4814 N. Broadway. “This will have to be a partnership between the city, the state and ourselves.”
Mickelson said he expects any restoration to cost between $30 million and $40 million. “No private entity could afford to put that amount of money into a theater,” he said. “The Uptown can only reopen with the necessary funding from the city.”
The Uptown is coming into a play at an ill-timed economic moment. Mayor Richard M. Daley has ordered staff furloughs to try and fight a major budget deficit, and the state is hardly awash in surplus cash. Nonetheless, the city has expressed enthusiasm for a rehabbing of the Uptown Theatre, a high-profile building at the core of its neighborhood...
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