Please, Boys, No Need to Fight Over Li'l Ol' Me
By Shannon in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 3, 2006 9:00PM
For those of you who keep tabs on architectural goings-on around town, the Uptown Theater saga has become old hat. Supporters of the 1925 theater first lobbied to save it in the '80s and got it registered as a Chicago Landmark in 1991. Technically it can't be torn down ... but so far no one has successfully picked up the challenge of rehabbing the severely delapidated nightspot.
Enter not one, but two major entertainment companies into the picture. Live Nation Inc. and Anschutz Entertainment Group both want dibs on the Uptown's future. Both companies are slated to turn in proposals on what to do with the theater sometime in December. To give you an idea of pedigree and scope, Live Nation owns the Allstate Arena, that one Tinley Park venue with the morphing name, Alpine Valley up in Wisconsin, and the newly-acquired House of Blues chain — not just the one downtown, the whole kit-n'-caboodle. AEG owns not only the Chicago Fire's arena in Bridgeview, Toyota Park, it owns the Fire itself. With the LA Kings hockey club and Staples Center also under its umbrella, it looks like AEG focuses more on sports than music, but we'd still be interested to see what they have in mind for the Uptown.
The city has been putting pressure in the form of condemnation on the current owner, Robert Lunn, to sell off the venue. Lunn filed for bankruptcy due to several lawsuits concerning mismanagement of investments and is willing to cooperate with city officials. To go from the hands of an owner with no assets into the arms of a giant event company with deep pockets is about the best an Uptown lover could hope for. We just pray, no matter the victor, that they're historically sensitive to its past.
Image courtesy of abmarfia.