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New apartment complex next to the Congress Theater revealed in renderings

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The long-discussed Logan Square proposal is preparing to move forward

A rendering of the proposed development slated for the vacant lot north of Logan Square’s Congress Theater.
Woodhouse Tinucci Architects

As renovation continues on the landmarked Congress Theater, the project’s developers are closing in on a plan to build a modern-looking apartment complex just north of the historic Logan Square venue.

The group, New Congress LLC, first hinted at its intentions to develop the vacant parcel at the northwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Rockwell Street into housing back in 2016. The developer filed a zoning application that called for a 10-story, 184-unit residential building.

A revised version of the Congress Theater phase two plan surfaced more recently on the website of the Greater Goethe Neighborhood Association. The document shows a glass and metal-clad building with 117 units rising 10 stories. The structure will top out at 121 feet, mirroring the height of the theater’s iconic vertical signage.

Woodhouse Tinucci Architects

First reported by Block Club Chicago, the updated proposal calls for ground-floor retail as well as a bike room, rooftop lounge, and elevated dog run for residents. The transit-oriented development will contain no on-site parking, but will include a loading dock capable of accommodating four motor coach buses for the theater.

A minimum of 30 percent of the apartments would be set aside as affordable-rate housing under the city’s Milwaukee Corridor pilot program. As with the renovation of the Congress itself, the new building is designed by River North-based Woodhouse Tinucci Architects.

The proposal requires a zoning change and will need to go through First Ward Alderman Joe Moreno and the Chicago City Council prior to approval. A public meeting to discuss the plan is expected to be announced soon, Block Club reported.

In the meantime, the developer is pushing ahead with its phase-one plans to modernize the performance venue and add 44 hotel rooms, 14 affordable-rate studio apartments, and new retail space.

Woodhouse Tinucci Architects
Woodhouse Tinucci Architects

Built in 1926 by architectural firm Fridstein & Co., the Classical Revival- and Italian Renaissance-style former movie palace was designated a Chicago Landmark in 2002 and named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

The Congress closed in 2013 following numerous incidents, including codes violations, public nuisance complains, a foreclosure threat, and the rape of a 14-year-old girl at an EDM concert.

New Congress LLC purchased the historic 2,900-seat venue in 2015 for $16 million. The group, which also oversaw the restoration of the Loop’s Cadillac Palace Theater, plans to increase auditorium capacity to 4,900.