Landmarks Approves The Congress Theater Redevelopment

View of Congress Theater. Rendering by Woodhouse Tinucci ArchitectsView of Congress Theater. Rendering by Woodhouse Tinucci Architects

The Permit Review Committee has approved the Congress Theater redevelopment. Located at 2135 N Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square, the historic Congress Theater sits at the corner of N Milwaukee Avenue and N Rockwell Street. Baum Revision is the developer and as previously reported they are working in tandem with Woodhouse Tinucci Architects.

The plan for the rehabilitation remains unchanged, and the scope involves a full historic restoration of the theater, building out the ground-level retail spaces, and housing space. The goal is to make the restoration without altering the existing layout or the structure. The renovation will upgrade the mechanicals of the structure, including windows, ventilation and ductwork, electrical, plumbing, and roofing.

Congress Theater Rendering by Woodhouse Tinucci Architects

Beyond the theater, the property features ground-floor retail and two levels of residential space. The storefronts are to be renovated and restored based on the existing layouts. There are a total of 16 affordable apartments planned including studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. There will not be any parking included in the development.

The development is expected to cost a total of $70.4 million. The cost breakdown shows $13.3 million in equity, $28 million in debt, $9 million in historic tax credits, $5.5 million in a deferred developer fee, and the tentatively approved $20 million in TIF. The project’s total costs include $12.8 million for the acquisition, with $57.5 million for the construction and additional costs.

Interior View of Congress Theater. Rendering by Woodhouse Tinucci Architects

While the theater is already a Chicago landmark and the developer seeks its designation on the National Register of Historic Places. With approval from the Permit Review Committee, the project is set to proceed to the City Council for approval.

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3 Comments on "Landmarks Approves The Congress Theater Redevelopment"

  1. Mostly good news. It is good to see this being rehabbed, but the downside is that we aren’t bumping up the density here. I don’t care about the $20m in TIF as this is something that needs to happen and private financing has been rough.

    Hoping that a lot of surrounding buildings get re-built more densely! And that Wasabi stays around for decades.

  2. Rick Stoneham | June 15, 2022 at 3:35 pm | Reply

    Approval is great but that doesn’t mean it will happen. Beyond the TIF and tax credits another $40 million is needed. I can’t tell from this if that money has been committed. If I recall the Uptown had a similar financing scheme and that isn’t moving. I was encouraged the Ramova does seem to be moving forward but that is a much smaller project.

    • The difference between this project and the Uptown is that the latter never made it to the start of the review for approval process (e.g. Permit Review, City Council, etc.).

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