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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Work Begins To Turn Uptown Theatre Parking Lot Into Apartment Building

The apartment building's name is a reference to the former owner of the neighboring Uptown Theatre.

Renderings of the 54-unit building being constructed on a parking lot behind the Uptown Theatre.
Courtesy 47th Ward Office
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UPTOWN — Crews have begun to turn the parking lot behind the Uptown Theatre into a new five-story apartment building, which will be called The Balaban.

Developer JAB Real Estate is working to turn the parking lot at the corner of Lawrence and Magnolia avenues into a 54-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail. Ten of the units will be considered efficiency apartments, according to city records.

A parking lot with 27 spaces will also be constructed. The project is a transit oriented development, meaning it can offer fewer than the city’s required number of parking spaces because of its proximity to major public transit lines.

The development will use the 4806 N. Magnolia Ave. address and will be called The Balaban, renderings for the project show.

That appears to be a reference to Balaban & Katz Theater Corporation, which built and operated the Uptown Theatre. The development is taking the site of a parking lot that served patrons of the Uptown Theatre and establishments like the Green Mill for nearly 60 years.

Renderings of the Balaban, a new apartment development in Uptown.

JAB Real Estate received a foundation-only building permit for the project in early April. A representative for JAB did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

JAB bought the parking lot property for $3.45 million last year.

Once built, the apartment complex would neighbor the Uptown Theatre, which is undergoing a $75 million renovation that would make the long-dormant theater the center of Uptown’s reinvigorated entertainment district.

After years of fits and starts, work on the theater renovation is scheduled to ramp up this year, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) previously said. That announcement was made before the pandemic caused economic hardship throughout the country, but Cappleman said at a recent town hall that he is working with the theater’s owners to ensure the work progresses.

The parking lot behind the Uptown Theater will be turned into a five-story apartment building.

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