Portage Theater Closed Indefinitely

By Amy Cavanaugh in Arts & Entertainment on May 25, 2013 7:00PM

2012_7_20_portage.jpg
Photo Credit: Don Ritt
The Portage Theater closed indefinitely on Friday after owner Eddie Carranza said there was a dispute over the theater's liquor license.

DNAInfo.com reported that Ald. John Arena (45th) said he would "block Carranza's plan to take over the liquor license at the theater at 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the heart of the Six Corners Shopping District because of Carranza's checkered track record at the Congress Theater."

"The theater going dark is not what I want, but a bad operator would be equally as bad," Arena told DNAInfo.com.

Carranza told DNAInfo.com that he was disappointed by Arena’s actions and accused him of being anti-business.

"I had great plans with great people," Carranza said, adding that he planned to turn the 94-year-old theater into a music venue and several nearby storefronts into a restaurant, a brew pub and a market. "Arena is driving away business. This is going to scare away other business owners who want to invest in Portage Park."

Yesterday, Carranza lost the liquor license for the Congress Theater, which he also owns, after the Chicago Liquor Control Commission decided that the Congress was a public nuisance, due to five separate incidents involving narcotics or controlled substances in a 12-month period.

Closing the theater means halting the Northwest Chicago Film Society’s screenings of classic films.