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Logan Square's Revamped Congress Theater Could Have A High Rise, Hotel

By Gwendolyn Purdom in News on Jul 22, 2016 4:32PM

New detailed plans for the Congress Theater's long-awaited redevelopment feature hotel rooms or residences alongside the revamped theater space, as well as a 10-story residential tower across the street from the Logan Square venue, the Chicago Architecture Blog reports. The new sketches, submitted to the city Wednesday, show a restored music venue, and propose either 32 residences in the theater building or 50 hotel rooms. The separate residential building would be built on the currently vacant lot across Rockwell Street and would include 120 units and ground floor commercial space.

Developer Michael Moyer took on the historic theater after it shuttered amid some drama in 2013 and teamed up with Woodhouse Tinucci Architects to transform the 1926 Chicago Landmark into a mixed use development that aims to "enliven the growing Milwaukee Corridor" much like Moyer's previous historic overhauls (The Loop's Cadillac Palace Theater and Allegro hotel, to name a few). In June, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks passed along the Congress to the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council for consideration to be added to the National Register of Historic Places, a designation that would provide helpful federal preservation tax credits for the project. With its Classic Revival and Italian Renaissance architectural details, the theater, originally built as a movie palace when movie palaces were a big thing in the 1920s, is considered one of the most intact examples of a movie house of that era.

Attendees got a look at an earlier set of Moyer's plans back in January of last year, when the developer held an open house at the theater. Guests at that time saw renderings of the project's proposed new marquee, learned of Moyer and Woodhouse Tinucci's plans to add more restaurants than retail in the project's commercial spaces, and were told it's still unclear whether the venue will operate as an independent theater or partner with a national operator. Sources at that time told the Tribune the project was estimated to cost around $50 million, though the new residential tower wasn't necessarily included in that figure.

No word yet on when the reinvigorated Congress Theater will be up and running, or what new additions or changes to the plans may come about in the coming months. Though if the city has its way, EDM will be no part of it—Chicago made the controversial move to ban the music style from the theater "regardless of whether it is sold to a new operator" in 2014.