STILL ENDANGERED AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: Chicago’s Uptown Theatre Named an Endangered Historic Landmark a Third Time
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — First listed on the Landmarks Illinois* Ten-Most Endangered List in 1996, and then again in 2001, the historic Uptown Theatre, 4816 N. Broadway, in Chicago, remains vacant, deteriorating and without an active restoration project.
The Uptown Theatre was named again to the statewide “Top 10” endangered historic building list again today, April 20, 2010, according to Jim Peters, president and executive director of Landmarks Illinois. The announcement was made during a morning press conference at the statehouse.
Closed since 1981, the 1925 Balaban & Katz movie palace was listed on the National Register in 1986 and designated a Chicago Landmark in 1991, including its remarkable Spanish Baroque interior details. The City of Chicago, local leaders and a dedicated group of volunteers have diligently protected and promoted the theatre through nearly three decades of absentee ownership and disinterested management.
More recently, in 2008, a new owner purchased the theatre and began planning to restore it as a live performance venue. However, the current economic climate makes it difficult for the private owner to secure the $40 million required to restore and reuse the theatre. City, state and federal support is needed to help back the owner’s plans and ensure a future for this neglected landmark. The Uptown Theatre could be an impressive point of pride and economic engine for the neighborhood, city and state.
*The statewide, nonprofit historic preservation organization now known as “Landmarks Illinois” was founded in 1971 and was known as “Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois” (LPCI) through June 2006.