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City Negotiates Sale Of Riviera Theater

The city of Chicago wants to negotiate a deal with Riviera Theater owner Louis
Wolf, who has been branded a slumlord for refusing to fix his buildings, to buy the 85-year-old building, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Jam Productions
presently holds a long-term operating lease and books about 40 concerts a year at
the 2,300-seat venue.

But there's a caveat: if Wolf doesn't agree to the terms, the city could force a sale, the
paper reports. The Community Development Commission, which advises the City
Council, has already approved the city's plan, which is to get the Riviera away from
Wolf and then find a new owner who will upkeep the building.

"We're just concerned that the building hasn't had any investment in a long time,''
said Peter Scales, spokesman for the city's Department of Planning and

According to a staff report, the building has been cited for "numerous code
violations,'' which Wolf, who has spent time in jail for arson and tax evasion, has

Jam is a potential obvious buyer, but the city has to put out competing bids. Scales
told the paper the company has expressed interest, but Jam co-owner Arny Granat
declined to comment if the company will make an offer.

Alderman Helen Shiller says the building has improved under Jam's