Historic City Theatre Set To Reopen
As proud Northsiders, we love to see our surrounding communities grow and flourish. Only one mile northeast of our Ravenswood studio is the historic Uptown Theatre and Uptown Entertainment District. Originally opened in 1925, when Uptown hosted a booming film industry, the Theatre was a prestigious and massive movie palace that stopped at no expense. Theatre goers enjoyed the air-conditioned 46,000 square foot space as music was played from the most expensive Wurlitzer organ of its time, accompanied by a live orchestra before settling into a silent film.
The Uptown Theatre closed it’s doors in 1981 due to flood damage and has since remained a vacant building stuck in time. Surrounded by other entertainment venues like the Riviera Theatre and the Aragon Ballroom (as well as the iconic jazz club, Green Mill), the Uptown Theatre sits silently amongst them. For ages petitions and interest has circled it’s restoration and return, but not until this summer has it finally become a reality. Thankfully there has been stabilization efforts since the mid-1990’s to keep the building’s facade preserved and last summer a petition received over 6,000 signatures asking for the full return of the Theatre. This past weekend it was announced that a $75 million plan has been put in place (compared to it’s original $4 million cost).
Gerber Building Get’s New Tenants
A second Uptown update came this week with the announcement of the Wilson Red Line area being transformed into a Chicago Market co-op! The co-op is the final piece of the $203 million Wilson overhaul puzzle. The most transformed part being the L stop itself. The co-op will go into the historic, and newly restored, Gerber Building. Chicago Market has been around since 2014 and will take over the 13,200 square foot Gerber space and fill it with organic and locally grown, fresh food. When complete it will be one of the largest start-up sustainable grocery stores in the nation. Currently, the co-op is still in its early stages and asking locals to contribute to their funding. Although they are at 1,000 owners already, they are looking to hit 2,000 by the end of the year to secure bank funding. Owner membership starts at $250 and $500.
“We also need to raise $1.8M from Owners through our Owner Loan Campaign. If we are not able to grow our Owner numbers sufficiently and raise enough capital, we won’t be able to open our store, so these things are critical. Instead of focusing on a timeline based around dates, we have to focus on a timeline based around Owner growth and funding. With over 1,000 Owners right now, if every current Owner convinced just one more person to join our community, we would reach our goal for 2018! If we get enough Owners and raise enough capital through our Owner Loan Campaign, then we hope to open sometime in late 2019 or early 2020.”
With all the new infrastructure and community-driven efforts happening in our neighborhood, we are excited about the future of Uptown!