9:52 PM CST, January 24, 2014
Work to fix the Uptown Theatre’s heating system is scheduled to begin Monday, a lawyer for the long-shuttered building’s owner said Friday in Cook County Circuit Court.
Representing UTA II, Jam Productions principals Jerry Mickelson and Arny Granat’s company that bought the Uptown in 2008, attorney Patrick Thompson said Hayes Mechanical will start repairs on the building’s boiler while the heating system is converted from oil to natural gas. The city and UTA II were in court last week after an inspection revealed that a massive floor-to-ceiling icicle had formed in the basement boiler room while the building’s heat had been turned off in advance of the system’s conversion.
The icicle was not mentioned Friday.
Associate Judge Joseph M. Sconza said he thought the building’s owners have been cooperative in getting fixes done and taking care of a property in which they have invested heavily.
“My response is when we are in front of your honor, we do get cooperation,” city attorney Judy Frydland returned.
The Uptown, a grand 1925 movie palace that hasn’t hosted an event since December 1981, has been envisioned by its owners and Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the anchor of a rejuvenated Uptown entertainment district, but UTA II has yet to assemble a private-public funding package to cover a historic renovation. Mickelson has estimated a $70 million price tag, though Thompson gave a figure of $63 million in court Friday.
The judge expressed eagerness for this project to move forward. “Let’s try and get this case over with in 2014,” Sconza said.
The city and UTA II are scheduled to return to court Feb. 28, with two inspections to take place before then.
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