Funding approved for Chicago Congress Theatre, N Milwaukee

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The allocation of $27 million in Tax Increment Financing to fund the reconstruction of the long-vacant Congress Theatre has been approved by the Chicago City Council. At the intersection of N Milwaukee Avenue and N Rockwell Street, at 2135 N. Milwaukee, is the historic Congress Theatre. The project’s former developers have been replaced with Baum Revision since they were unable to advance it.

Woodhouse Tinucci Architects brought forward the plan for rehabilitation. It calls for a complete historic restoration of the theatre, shops, and apartments. Without changing the structure’s internal room configuration or organisation, the work will simply restore the current finishes. All of the building’s mechanical components—including the roof, electrical system, plumbing, and ventilation—will be upgraded as part of the refurbishment. Additionally, new windows installed will match the character of the original windows.

More details on the Chicago Congress Theatre refurbishment project

In addition to the theatre, the building fronts the street with two levels of residential space and 13,000 square feet of retail space. The layouts of the refurbished storefronts will be identical to those of the original storefronts. The Milwaukee Avenue block will have 16 apartments, including studio, one-bed and two-bedroom units, 14 of which will be affordable. Furthermore, the development will not have any parking.

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The $27 million in Tax Increment Funding is in conjunction with other funding sources. It contributed to part of the $88 million plan to finance the project. The three-year extension of the TIF district, which gives the developer extra time before the TIF funds expire, was an important component of the city’s approval. Now that the development has received these final clearances, permitting and construction may begin.