Wire, a concert hall and bar, once formed with nearby FitzGerald’s a double list of live entertainment on Roosevelt Road in Berwyn. Then the pandemic struck, disrupting even the best-laid out business plans.
Wire owners were forced to put their well-equipped club up for sale. It has been completely closed since March 2020 and co-owner Christopher Neville has said he sees no other way to avoid escalating losses.
He said he hoped the two-story building could be sold to someone who wanted to continue using it for live music. “It would be nice to reopen, but we were sinking into a hole,” said Neville, also a member and manager of the local band Tributosaurus.
“It was a great ride. As a musician, it’s interesting to be on the other side of the counter, ”he said.
The building at 6815 W. Roosevelt Road is a former movie theater that dates back to 1918. It is marketed by realtor David King of David King & Associates, who noted that Neville’s group went into rehab after the bought in 2012. Prior to that, it was a room for a local of the Teamsters Union.
“It’s a concert hall. The sound systems and lighting systems all remain. It really is a turnkey solution for someone, ”King said.
It is offered at no up-front price. Property records show Neville’s group paid $ 205,000 for the building in 2012. King and Neville said there have been several inquiries since listing about seven weeks ago.
Neville said the space can be configured for 250 to 400 people, depending on the seating plan. At 8,500 square feet, the building includes a 35-foot bar and a second floor for VIP seating, according to the listing.
The region’s halt to progress against the pandemic has created confusion as to when live events can return and be financially sustainable. FitzGerald’s at 6615 W. Roosevelt Road managed with limited capacity performance in its outdoor patio, but no such space was available for Wire.
Neville has said he will face costs to restart even in modest form and that the warmer weather is not the ideal season for indoor venues anyway. “I’m just grateful to my investors for helping us get this far. We wanted to keep the place out of the tax sale, ”he said.
Her partners in Wire include musician Tracey Dear and sound engineer Jon Smith. Paul Bolger, a member of rock band Mr. Blotto, is a former partner, Neville said.
Wire’s situation continues a sad story for performing arts establishments. Chicago’s Second City comedy business has been sold and plans to continue, but the iO Theater improv center and Mercury Theater Chicago have closed for good. The Chicago Tribune reported that the Royal George Theater may be sold for redevelopment.