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Preservation Watch

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In yet another twist in the Portage Theater saga, the Sun-Times is reporting that Erineo "Eddie" Carranza, owner of the Congress Theater, has made an offer to purchase the Portage, located at 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave. This comes after the Chicago Tabernacle, a local church, was forced to abandon its plans to buy the historic theater in the wake of community opposition. But it's Carranza who's now finding himself in the crosshairs of neighborhood criticism over his inability to properly maintain the Congress Theater. Local Ald. John Arena (45th), however, is tentatively in support of Carranza's efforts, telling the Sun-Times: "I don't automatically assume that what happens at one venue will happen at the other." To add to the drama, Portage operators Dennis Wolkowicz and Dave Dziedzic are crying foul after owner Harry Perl allegedly refused to honor an oral agreement for them to purchase the property, opting instead to focus on Carranza's bid of $2.7M. All of this unfolds while efforts are underway to extend landmark protection to the 92-year old theater, which could happen by year-end. [Sun-Times, previously]