UPDATE: Jam Productions has just been announced as the Uptown’s new owner, with a winning bid of $3.2 million. Surprisingly, there
were no other bids was only one other bid.
It seems likely that the Uptown Theater’s years of neglect will be coming to an end. For years, ownership of the building has passed through so many different entities that it’s been hard to tell at times who exactly it belongs to. The city’s finally taken over, and today it’s being sold to whoever drops off the highest bid at the Judicial Sales Corporation downtown.
The Uptown will probably end up in the hands of one of the major concert production companies working in the city, since nobody without a lot of capital to throw around–and the clout to squeeze public funding out of the city–could finance its renovation. On a short list of likely buyers, locally based Jam Productions ranks pretty close to the top, but they’ll have to compete with mega-promoters like Live Nation–current owners of the House of Blues chain–and AEG Live, which produced the recent Rothbury Festival and has started to book big acts at the Horseshoe Casino over the bridge in Hammond, including Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots. (Back in the day the Uptown hosted the likes of Frank Zappa and Bob Marley, so it certainly has the potential to operate on that level.)
Obviously it’ll be great for the city to have another big venue–the Uptown’s an enormous 46,000 square feet–but I’ll be happy just to see such a cool old building shined up and put back to use.