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Congress Theater Overhaul — And Residential Building — Could Get OK From Key City Council Group Thursday

The theater itself would include shops, 14 apartments and a 50-room hotel.

New renderings show what a seven-story tower proposed next to the Congress Theater would look like.
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LOGAN SQUARE — The $69 million Congress Theater renovation project that includes a seven-story, 72-unit building in the heart of Logan Square is at the top of Thursday’s agenda for the Chicago Plan Commission.

In September, developer Michael Moyer told a community group that the plan to restore the notoriously run-down Congress Theater to a measure of its former glory will not be possible unless he gets approval to build the residential building on a vacant lot north of the theater on Rockwell Street, according to Block Club Chicago.

The proposal drew criticism from residents, upset that the vacant lot was once set to be transformed into a park and that the apartments would not be big enough for most families. Thirty percent of the units would be earmarked for low- and moderate-income residents, more than the city’s affordable requirements ordinance requires. 

The theater itself would include shops, 14 apartments and a 50-room hotel. The property at 2117-63 N. Milwaukee Ave. is currently zoned B3-1 Community Shopping and C1-1 Neighborhood Commercial, and would be rezoned to B3-3 Community Shopping if the project is approved.

The project is also located close enough to the CTA Blue Line to qualify as a transit-oriented development, which means fewer parking spaces have to be provided than city law normally requires.

In June, the city’s Community Development Commission unanimously approved $9.7 million in tax-increment financing for the project.

The Plan Commission is also set to consider a 17-story building with 318 units proposed for 808 N. Wells St. in the 27th Ward.

The project would include 6,300 square feet of shops, 16 vehicle parking spaces and 318 bicycle parking spaces — as permitted under the city’s transit-oriented development ordinance. The site would be rezoned to DX-7 Downtown Mixed Use.

The development would also pay into the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund for permission to build more units than allowed under the current rules, officials said.

Originally, the property was to have been home to a 23-story building with 58 units and a 105-space garage. However, after slower than expected sales and the death of a company executive in 2016 doomed the plan.

Also in the 27th Ward, the commission is set to review plans for the third and final tower as part of the redevelopment of the Atrium Village apartment complex near Wells and Division streets.

Developer Onni Group wants to build a 41-story tower with 456 units, office and retail space, 193 vehicle parking spots and 815 bicycle parking spots. The site would be rezoned to DX-5 Downtown Mixed Use.

The development’s first phase included a 32-story tower and its second tower is set to be 39 stories and include 428 residential units.

Commissioners will also weigh the $75 million redevelopment of the Uptown Theater, which is set to get $13 million from the area’s tax-increment financing district. Jam Productions and Farpoint are leading the renovations.

The developer wants to rezone the theater at 4812 N. Broadway from B3-3 and B3-5 Community Shopping Districts to a unified B3-5 and create an Entertainment Planned Development, which would increase the capacity of the theater to approximately 5,800 people, according to city officials.

Also up for a vote is a proposal to build a five-story addition to the Chicago Tabernacle of the Assemblies of God at 3201-33 N. Cicero Ave. The new building would house a community center, commercial space, medical services and 115 parking spaces.

The church wants to rezone the property, which is now B3-1 Community Shopping District and C2-1 Motor Vehicle-Related Commercial District, to C1-5 Neighborhood Commercial District, according to the proposal.

The commission is also set to consider a proposal to build an observatory deck atop the Aon Center at 200 E. Randolph St. as well as a new master plan for the area around the Jefferson Park Transit Center at Lawrence and Milwaukee avenues in the 45th Ward.

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