PORTAGE PARK — The new owner of the Patio Theater will be familiar to many on the Far Northwest Side: Portage Theater owner Eddie Carranza paid $2.5 million to take control of the former movie palace, records show.
An inital attempt by Carranza to purchase the the 88-year-old former movie palace at 6008 W. Irving Park Road in conjunction with an out-of-state real estate firm fell apart in October, said Justin Weber, the broker handling the sale.
Because the Kouvalis family, who has owned the theater in the Irving Austin Business District since 1987, wanted it to remain open, they negotiated an agreement directly with Carranza, who was the only person interested it keeping the marquee ablaze, Weber said.
Carranza directed Weber not to reveal his role in the purchase of the Patio Theater to DNAinfo Chicago. Weber said that put him in a "weird position."
The theater will be operated by the same team that is operating the Portage Theater in the Six Corners Shopping District, Weber said.
Carranza hopes to sell the apartments and storefronts attached to the theater within six months, Weber said.
Carranza did not respond to a request for comment from DNAinfo Chicago.
Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th) said he met last week with the theater's management team, led by Charlie Burns, and came away feeling "enthusiastic" about their plans for family friendly events designed to help revitalize the commercial area along Portage Park's western edge.
But after the meeting, the theater's operators failed to follow up with the alderman's office as promised and Sposato said Burns and others failed to return several calls from him.
"That makes me suspicious, especially given their track record," Sposato said.
Burns did not respond to an email message from DNAinfo Chicago about what his plans for the Patio Theater entail.
Although Arena said the Portage Theater was overcrowded during a hip-hop concert, city officials issued no citations in connection with that incident, city records show.
Carranza also had a troubled record at the Congress Theater in Logan Square, which city officials determined created a nuisance because of five separate illegal incidents involving drugs from September 2011 to April 2012.
City officials yanked Carranza's liquor license at the Congress, sparking a long-running dispute between the theater owner and Arena that resulted in the closure of the Portage Theater from May 2013 to June 2014.
The first event under the Patio Theater's new management was a free showing of "A Christmas Story" and free pictures with Santa Claus as part of the Irving Austin Business District Holiday Walk.
According to the Patio Theater's website, no other events are scheduled to take place at the theater through April.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: