Jam’s Winning Uptown Bid

What had become a very complicated ownership scenario for Chicago’s historic Uptown Theatre was simplified by a court-ordered sale July 29, and Jam Productions is now the undisputed owner with a $3.2 million bid, pending court approval.

Jam’s Jerry Mickelson was the only bidder on the venue, according to Crain’s Chicago Busines., It’s a somewhat surprising turn of events as Live Nation and MSG Entertainment considered buying the Uptown. Live Nation reportedly had been in recent talks with city officials about acquiring a lease on the theatre.

The purchase price reportedly includes repayment of about $1.8 million owed on a first mortgage held by Equibase Chairman David Husman. Mickelson said Jam Productions attempted to pay off the first mortgage, but Husman refused the payment and returned the check.

The legal title holder is Standard Bank and Trust, according to the Chicago Tribune. But the beneficiary of that trust is Cercore Properties, which has been dissolved. With various liens on the property, some of which have been assigned to other parties, including Jam and Husman, clear ownership of the building has been the subject of several half-completed lawsuits.

A recent foreclosure judgment resulted in the judicial sale, which a court will still have to approve before it becomes final. Mickelson previously told Pollstar that he welcomed judicial intervention to force the sale of the Uptown and settle the issue.

The Uptown Theatre, built in 1925, is a Chicago landmark but has sat largely vacant for the last 25 years. The city has spent at least $1 million to make emergency repairs because of water and other damage to the building.

The ornate former movie palace will still require millions of dollars in renovations. Mickelson told the Tribune that the work will require assistance from the city of Chicago, which previously had considered a $40 million subsidy. The city had authorized mayor Richard Daley’s administration to acquire the Uptown via condemnation, but the city did not do so.