The Uptown Theater, an Art Deco music venue just north of Temple University on Broad Street, is trying to plan a comeback. The place where famous acts like the Jackson 5 and The Temptations once played has sat vacant since 1991. Linda Richardson, President of the Uptown Entertainment and Development Corporation (UEDC) owns the building and recently shared her plans with the Temple News. "Her vision includes a 2,040-seat performance area, and an additional 50-seat area for student performances, artist lofts, office spaces and areas for community organizations to lease."
Hosting such acts as Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding and Smokey Robinson, the venue closed in the early 1970s. According to LOLadelphia, things just kept going down for Uptown:
"In the 1980's, the Uptown briefly re-opened as a church. However, after a storm in 1991 destroyed the roof and much of the interior of the theater, this amazing structure became a squatting place for drug addicts, taggers, and thieves".
City records show UEDC bought the building in 2002 for $1 and Richardson said they've been plugging away at the roof, mechanicals and the terra-cotta tiles on the walls. According to The Temple News, UEDC has raised $3M to start phase two of the operation and needs between $5M to $7M more to see it through. Phase two would include restoring the lobby and auditorium and would take about two years to complete the project once the money is raised.
· Community reacts to Uptown project [The Temple News]
· Philadelphia's Uptown Theater: A rich slice of history in North Philly [LOLadelphia]