Uptown Theatre

4816 N. Broadway,
Chicago, IL 60640

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Showing 226 - 250 of 460 comments

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 27, 2007 at 10:54 am

I’m with you Bruce.

I respect your right to an opinion Scott. But I don’t see where you are coming from, and I don’t think I am going to.

Taxation within reasonable limits is fine by me as long as the money does some good for our community. Federal taxes have been lower since Bush became President. If you look at a chart of state income tax rates, the 3% flat tax in Illinois is nowhere near the top of the scale. I confess that I don’t know much about city taxation. But I don’t get the feeling like there is widespread discontent coming out of Chicago.

Come back when someone introduces a proposal that would take 75% of my yearly compensation and give it to the government. Then I think there will be something to talk about.

bruceanthony on November 27, 2007 at 9:20 am

Most cities provide money and tax credits interested in reviving a depressed area. The City should look to building a major parking garage in the area to help the Uptown area as a whole and not just the Uptown Theatre. Every major Downtown in the United States has used tax dollars to help revive its historic core. The Times Square Improvement District was created to help revive the midtown area of Manhattan which started with funds to restore the Victory Theatre and low interest loan and tax credits to restore the New Amsterdam theatre on 42nd Street. Midtown has been booming ever since after many failed attempts in the 70’s and 80’s. It took a combination of State,City and private funding to get the ball rolling. Chicago spent money helping revive the theatre district in the North Loop with the Chicago,Oriental,Palace and Goodman Theatres. This was a combination of Public and Private funds and this helped improve the entire Loop. Private companies are very nervous about investing in a depressed area without some help. The Uptown is one of the largest remaining historic theatres without a clear future. Most remaining theatres the size of the Uptown have been restored. The only way I see a future for the Uptown is a combination of City,State and Private funding. It would have been easier to restore the Uptown in the 1980’s than it is today. The Uptown is not just any theatre it is the largest historic movie palace ever built in Chicago and is at risk of being lost if money isn’t spent to stabalize and at least get the theatre operational in the near future. I think if the theatre is made operational and parking in the area is improved more companies would be interested in investing and running the Uptown.The fact that Cablevision was interested shows you the potential of the Uptown.brucec

Jayne1955 on November 21, 2007 at 5:57 am

Well, that probably counts as one of the few with verticals, considering how many there used to be. The Aragon IS amazing. I used to teach at St. Thomas of Canterbury school down the street, and I used to show the kids pictures of the Aragon, Riviera and the Uptown from their heydays as part of my lessons on the community. (My uncle worked at the Riviera when it was a movie theatre in the early 50’s and had some cool pictures.) If they tried to tear down the Uptown, I’d bet the old girl would put up a fight. Breaking up that huge lobby floor would e difficult and probably cost a fortune right there.

BartHalleman on November 20, 2007 at 8:18 pm

I agree with the city staying out of the way.

Jayne1955 on November 20, 2007 at 6:58 pm

I worked there in the 70’s. They even had a few concerts there. It was funny to see people coming in stoned for a concert, looking around at the theatre going, “Wow, man!” This theatre was a gem. At that time the murals were still visible in the old nursery area. The main problem, if I remember correctly WAS the lack of parking. With the Nortown gone, it’s one of the last remaining theatres with a vertical sign, is it not? It deserves a chance.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 20, 2007 at 3:04 pm

What do you propose as an alternative, more appropriate use of tax dollars, and how does funding projects which benefit the community constitute giving up our freedom?

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 19, 2007 at 11:41 am

Whether or not it is up to the City is a matter of debate. But I think all Bruce is saying is that a strong showing from them would make a big difference.

It’s kind of silly to complain about tax dollars. Our tax dollars ideally are put to use on projects that improve and maintain quality of life for us, the taxpayers. I think it can certainly be argued that the Uptown falls into that category, and most definitely a sports stadium. How many thousands of people enjoy going to the new Soldier Field every football season? If you feel differently Scott, prepare your arguments and head for City Hall. But I suggest that your energy is better invested elsewhere.

bruceanthony on November 19, 2007 at 9:47 am

Lets not get sidetracked with a dollar amount. Restoration costs can be highly inflated when many other items such as a parking garage is added. The Pantages in Hollywood cost 12 Million to restore and that was work done only to the theatre. When people talk about restoring the Uptown they should talk about the theatre. It is up to the City to improve parking in the area not the potential buyer. A realistic dollar amount should be discussed about stabalizing the theatre and getting the Uptown operational.The Uptown building is a theatre building and not attatched to an office building like many theatres. I would like to hear a realistic dollar amount to get the Uptown operational and a dollar amount for full restoration just for the theatre. The huge Fox in Oakland is currently under restoration but a bulk of the restoration funds is going toward building a Charter School around the theatre.Reading about the Fox you would think that all this money is being spent on the theatre when only 30 per cent is going to restore the theatre itself.We shouldn’t scare potential buyers about the cost it should be a realistic dollar amount. Full restoration doesn’t have to happen in the beginning it could be done over a period of time. The focus of the Uptown should be to get it stabilized and operational with some cosmetic work done. I think Cablevision would have been more interested if the theatre had at least been operational.brucec

oldjoe on November 18, 2007 at 7:59 am

the restoration number talked about was 90 million – not 40 million this including providing parking to patrons. the city must offer tax breaks for any potential buyer to get serious about making the uptown a viable project

BartHalleman on November 8, 2007 at 7:40 pm

I agree I feel if the City can be involved with the Chicago. What is stopping the restoration of the Uptown. Maybe it could be a good form of income when the Olympics come to Chicago?

andygarner on November 8, 2007 at 2:23 pm

So am I, Lifes too short, Bruces argument makes sound commercial sense(unlike some of the previous well intentioned but dreamers schemes for the Uptown) the building has a future, and CAN be used commercially again, so its over to The City to open up the coffers and start the ball rolling to get the theatre into an operating condition.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 8, 2007 at 2:12 pm

I am impressed Bruce. That is by far the most intelligent argument I have ever seen supporting the notion that the Uptown remains viable as a theatre.

bruceanthony on November 8, 2007 at 9:41 am

The city of Chicago needs to put a little money into the Uptown to interest a potential buyer such as Cablevision. The Uptown is the perfect size of theatre for concerts looking for a midsize venue.The city should offer a major tax credit for a potential buyer. The city needs to stabilize the building and spend a little money to get it in operating shape and then a potential buyer might be interested as Cablevision was. I think the biggest problem Cablevision had was the distance from the Loop because the theatre would have been a cheap buy then antoher 40 million in restoration. Cablevison spent 70 Million restoring Radio City and is currently restoring the Beacon in New York. The midsize concert venue is exploding across the US that why the 7100 seat Nokia was built in LA. The Uptown is located in an improving neigherhood and it one of the largest theatres standing in the US. The Loew’s 175th St in NYC with 3300 seats has become a very hot midsize Venue in NYC with many sold out concerts. Just think the Uptown seats 1000 more seats than the 175th Street located in the 3rd largest City in the US. I would conctact the concert booker of the 175Th Street who will be in direct competition with the smaller Beacon in NYC as someone who could compete with Cablevison in Chicago. The potential is there but money must be spent to restore the Uptown and Im sure it would get plenty of concert bookings, since its larger than the Chicago Theatre. The city of Chicago must take the lead and spend some money to open this theatre.brucec

DonFoshey on November 7, 2007 at 1:11 pm

Thanks for the quick response. I’ll write you at the new email address.

CompassRose on November 7, 2007 at 1:06 pm

Hi DonF,

This is Joanne at CompassRose.com. We’ve moved our office and upgraded our servers/e-mail hosting this last month. I’m sorry if we lost your e-mail. You can contact me at with any problems.

Thanks and sorry for any delay.


DonFoshey on November 7, 2007 at 12:42 pm

Does anyone here have a connection to Compass Rose? I sent my check to them over a month ago for a copy of the “Uptown” DVD, but haven’t seen it yet. I also emailed the editor email on their website a week ago, but still haven’t heard back.
Maybe I’m just getting over anxious, but I’m looking forward to my copy and don’t seem to have any way of getting in touch with them.
Anyone out there have any suggestions? Thanks.

Broan on October 8, 2007 at 9:57 pm

Recent photos of this theatre are HERE

BartHalleman on October 5, 2007 at 4:14 pm

the uptown theatre is a chicago landmark. So the building has landmark status from the City.Of course politics would be involved. When the Chicago was restored Washington was Mayor. The Goodman theatre Daley was Mayor. There is even a space with his name on it.
Who knows who will be Mayor if and when the time comes for the Uptown?

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 5, 2007 at 10:17 am

It has become a very murky situation. There are so many issues to resolve. I think it is possible that the building will eventually be restored as part of an Uptown entertainment district. I also think it is possible that some sort of compromise project like the one you describe could come to pass. I just wish that something constructive would happen. It is desressing to watch the property decay year after year. Also, having a hulk of an unusable theater towering over the neighborhood certainly isn’t a positive force for development.

50yrsfromnow on October 5, 2007 at 8:55 am

Have read the above links to ownership issues and interest by developers.

My guess is the usual scoundrels and villains are lining up to pick over the bones. And I wonder why the city has been so indifferent, seems like there would be a push to go one way or the other?

Wouldn’t it really stink to have a new owner save the lobby for historical value as an entrance to the new office tower where the theater “was”. Maybe a Starbucks and gift shoppes. Worse deals involving historical sites have been made. Well maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing compared to what is happening now. I would bet my last buck in the end local interests will be forgotten and the site will be used as leverage for a bigger non related real estate deal.

By the way. Who is paying the utilities, taxes, roof leaks, boiler repair and so on now? If no owner is willing to do this it kind of makes you wonder.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 30, 2007 at 2:54 pm

I’m not sure if this photograph taken at the opening of the Uptown Theatre has been posted before, but its worth a look and also click on the ‘now’ button for a current view:
View link

BartHalleman on September 30, 2007 at 7:10 am

the neighborhood is part of a historic district on the national register. The Riv down the street is operational so what is the problem with the uptown. there is always the story on television about the green mill lounge. You did know that the Uptown was built on the site of the picnic area of the Green Mill?

davidreed on September 28, 2007 at 9:20 am

Any new info/news about the continuing saga that is the Uptown?

bruceanthony on September 15, 2007 at 10:46 am

Come on Chicago your finsished restoring the loop theatres now its time to restore the largest theatre ever built in Chicago and it would give a huge boost to the Uptown district.brucec