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Added Apr 05 2012

I'm happy to share a great victory with you today: The Landmark Commission just voted unanimously to bestow preliminary landmark status on The Portage Theater. This change will protect the building's facade, lobby areas and theater space from alterations until the city completes a longer and more extensive study.

This is an important step in the effort to preserve this community anchor, and I'm proud of all the work we've done in the past few weeks to get this safeguard into place. So many of you stepped up to help research the building and its history, as well as get the word out about the possible alteration of this unique slice of Chicago's past.

I also want to thank the folks at Preservation Chicago, who designated the Portage as one of their Seven Most Endangered Chicago Buildings. In addition to their support for the historical status of the theater, they also note that Chicago Tabernacle's plan to convert The Portage to a house of worship will "take it off the tax rolls and could jeopardize the nascent economic revival currently occurring at Six Corners. Despite major community opposition, the Zoning Board of Appeals will soon be considering whether to grant the church a Special Use Permit to operate in the Portage Theater space."

As Preservation Chicago wisely notes, the landmark status will protect the building, but not its use. The Zoning Board of Appeals lists Chicago Tabernacle's Special Use Permit request on their April 20 agenda, and I hope you can come out to City Hall that morning at 9 am to voice your opinion. Also, Chicago Tabernacle has now submitted the required paperwork to go through our community-centered zoning review process. We will be sitting down with church representatives next week as part of that process, and the church will present their plans to the community shortly thereafter. I will keep you posted as the situation unfolds.

Thank you for your continued community engagement.

  • I feel this church would be a great improvement to the very run down, empty and actually ugly 6 corners area. This church is not attacking the theater and I felt it''s been ridiculous to read all the save this theater posts!! I have to believe the management of this church had first dibs for months if not years, that the owner wanted to sell this theater! They could have gotten community support and funding to buy this church then, but they didn't! I am confused why this church is being attacked for presenting a legal contract (which obviously has been accepted by the owner) that the management had to knew was put up for sale? PS. I've lived in the 60630 zip area for 25 yrs and I would NEVER have come shop or visit the six corners area had I not heard all this about a church wanting to come here! I've read a reason the alderman is also blocking the zone change for this church is because a restaurant couldn't get a liquor license across from a church! Wow, do we need more places to buy liquors around here?
    I recently decided to go into a couple of the restaurants in the area of the Portage Theater. I can tell you I heard nothing but positive remarks about the people of this church and how they have visited them to show how they would support the businesses of this area!
    I am glad this is a historical landmark now and I do not think keeping the detailed design of the front of this building would not be a problem for this church, changing the second rate showing of old films no one cares to go see at the Portage theater is what is needed to improve this building!

  • FYI.
    Before the Chicago Zoning Board,
    Chicago Tabernacle
    of the Assemblies of God, as applicant,
    and Portage Park Partnership, as owner,
    have petitioned for approval of a special
    use for a 1,000-seat religious assembly
    within an existing theater. The proposed
    religious assembly will also have 2 and 3
    story additions to an existing 3-story
    building with retail uses and 34 residential
    dwelling units to be de-converted to 15
    residential dwelling units. The property is
    located at 4042- 60 N Milwaukee Ave.

  • Inactive user

    Welcome "Judi" lol.

  • @'Judi': Please read the lengthy thread listed below, which will detail why the Portage Theater is so beloved and well-attended. Then perhaps you won't feel the need to make utterly false statements such as the ones you posted above. I live near the Portage Theater and I can't tell you one person I know around here who would be happy about the CT purchase.

    Contrariwise, as someone who by your own admission would 'NEVER' (all caps!) patronize the Six Corners area, I can't imagine why this would concern you in the first place.

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    Sock Puppet

  • kenji Find us here -->

    I'd like to know what restaurants Judi ate at, and what she had.

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    What I don't get, "Judi," is why you would come to shop at Six Corners BEFORE the church moved in if you wouldn't before you heard it was negotiating for the space. I can see coming in once the church is there either because you're a member of the congregation or because you're hoping that its presence will improve the neighborhood. I really don't see how a visit to the neighborhood on the off chance the church will be able to buy the property makes much sense for someone who considers the area ugly and run down. Surely if that was your opinion, you would do your best to avoid the area until it held some other attraction for you.

    You may think the church is all right with keeping the theater as it is, but the church has indicated that they plan on making substantial changes in the structure. This makes landmark status problematic for them.

    Since the rest of us are concerned with OUR neighborhood, an area where we live and do business, I think our concerns are a little more pressing than those of someone who has admitted that she has never bothered coming here to do either of those things and wouldn't unless this church was a factor.

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Posted to Ward 45

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