How much is a 4,300-seat entertainment palace worth?


Finally, finally there seems to be a glimmer of hope for the future of the 80-year old, Rapp and Rapp-designed Uptown Theatre. The Chicago Tribune reports that the projected bids could be anywhere from $1 to 40-million for this celebrated theater, replete with 4300 seats and 3 vast lobbies.  Many bids are expected, including Chicago’s Jam Productions (which used the venue in the 70’s), California’s LiveNation and Madison Square Gardens.  Says Chris Jones on his blog:

It seems counterintuitive, but in many ways the judicial sale is a consequence of renewed interest in the Uptown, flowing from the increasingly competitive marketplace for live entertainment in Chicago and the relative shortage of viable venues.  The fortunes of the long-imperiled, down-at-heel Uptown look brighter now than at any point in the last two decades.

UPDATE: Uptown Theatre has been purchased by Jam Productions for $3.2 million.  Full story here, here and here.

Bonus: Though I posted Ian Sklarsky’s beautiful (and heartbreaking) Uptown Theater YouTube video months ago, here it is again:

Top picture courtesy of

Chicago Theater sold to Madison Square Gardens

Ornate balcony of the Chicago Theater  chicagotheater-atnight.jpg  chicagotheaterstatestreet1.jpg

The Chicago Theatre is being sold to New York’s Madison Square Garden Entertainment, according to a published report.

“Madison Square Garden has agreed in principle to purchase the Chicago Theatre,” according to a statement from a spokesman for Madison Square Garden Entertainment. “However, there remain several additional details that must be worked out before the purchase can be finalized. We look forward to completing the transaction as quickly as possible and will comment further at the appropriate time.”

The 3,600-seat theater is located on State Street in the Loop business district.  It opened in 1921, originally as a lavish movie palace, and features a landmark marquee.