Initial details have been revealed for a residential development at 1649 N Halsted Street in Old Town. Located just north of the intersection with W North Avenue and across the street from the recently expanded Steppenwolf Theater, the project would replace the multi-building complex of the Royal George Theater and its adjoining parking garage. Developer Draper & Kramer recently updated their website to show the first rendering of the new structure which also includes the 2020 proposal by JDL at 1623 N Halsted Street.
The Royal George Theater’s three-story brick-clad building and marquee have occupied the site since 1984 and is home to four theater spaces with the 452-seat mainstage being at the center. In its time it became a go-to for independent producers to show their work to the massive Chicago theater audiences, also featuring Boka Restaurant Group’s Balena in the white brick building next door. The restaurant eventually closed in 2017 due to a kitchen fire, with the theater abruptly shutting its doors for good in mid-2021, forcing shows to find a new home according to the Tribune.
While not much is known about the upcoming project, the 0.8-acre site will be fully occupied by the new eight-story building containing 133 residential units made up of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts for singles to small families. Although it is unknown if the units will be rentals or condos, the developer will be required to make 20 percent, or 27 units, affordable. Future residents will have access to amenities like a coworking space, fitness studio, lounge, and rooftop sky terrace, no details have been revealed as to whether the ground floor will feature any commercial spaces. Due to its proximity to transit it will only provide 34 vehicle parking spaces.
Clad in glass, concrete, and wood paneling at the base, the design of the structure takes inspiration from Steppenwolf’s modern new theater and matches the height of the adjacent proposal. Tenants will get to enjoy living in a transit rich area with easy bus access to CTA Route 8 directly outside of the building, as well as Routes 9 and 72 and the CTA Red Line at the North/Clybourn stop in under five minutes. Currently there is no project budget or construction timeline known, however it will require a rezoning approval from its commercial use to residential, as well as most-likely some community meetings on the design.