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Uptown in the News  

May 19, 2007
Crain’s Chicago Business
After years of neglect, groups fighting over it
By Eddie Baeb

CHICAGO -- The historic Uptown Theatre, which has defied redevelopment attempts and slowed the resurgence of its neighborhood since closing in 1981, is suddenly a hot property.

Local concert promoter Jerry Mickelson and Block 37 developer Joseph Freed & Associates LLC are battling a group led by real estate investor David Husman over control of the foreclosed 1920s-era landmark, which also has attracted the attention of national concert promoters.

Mr. Mickelson, co-founder of Jam Productions Ltd., wants to restore the 4,500-seat theater, which once hosted Prince, the Grateful Dead and other big acts, as a concert venue. In a foreclosure sale, a buyer may have to pay upward of $3.5 million to satisfy the outstanding mortgages, liens and money the city is owed for repairs. Renovation would cost about $40 million.

"Everyone in the business has looked at this theater," says state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, who worked on saving the Uptown as an aldermanic staffer for 14 years before being elected last year. "The community is hoping somebody will step up to the plate."

"This was an asset that nobody thought had any value," says David Neff, a partner with DLA Piper US LLP and lead attorney in Mr. Lunn's bankruptcy. "It's interesting to see that there are two parties fighting over it now."

To view the entire article for a fee, please visit the Crain’s website at www.chicagobusiness.com.

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