PORTAGE PARK — Residents of 34 apartments above and adjacent to the Portage Theater have been without heat since Wednesday after the historic building's heating system had to be shut down for repairs.
A problem with a radiator in one of the eight storefronts along Milwaukee Avenue near Irving Park Road damaged the entire system, said Joe Houlihan, a spokesman for owner Eddie Carranza.
Owen Brugh, chief of staff to Ald. John Arena (45th), said his office had received a complaint about the apartments being without heat and was working to schedule a heat inspection by city officials.
Two crews were working on the heating system Monday afternoon, but said he was not sure when the heat would be back on, Houlihan said.
A 16-year resident of the apartment building said it was 61 degrees in his apartment Monday afternoon.
"These people seem to be without a conscience," the man said, who declined to give his name.
In a text message, Carranza said repairs to old buildings are common. The Portage Theater opened in 1920.
"That's what we are doing is fixing up the place," Carranza said. "You should have seen it when we got there."
Carranza bought the theater in September 2012.
City law requires apartment temperatures of at least 68 degrees from Sept. 15 to June 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and temperatures of at least 66 degrees at all other times.
The apartments were also without gas for four days in September after Carranza failed to pay the building's past-due gas bill of nearly $25,000.
The theater in the heart of the Six Corners shopping district hasn't hosted a show since May.
Carranza closed the Portage on May 24 after Arena said he would not allow Carranza to take over the liquor and public place of amusement licenses at the theater because of the theater owner's pockmarked track record at the Congress Theater.
In September, Arena said he was "deeply concerned about Mr. Carranza's financial ability to meet his obligations as a landlord" and would monitor the property closely.