The mixed-use development at 1649 N. Halsted is heading to Plan Commission later this month to seek approval. Led by Draper and Kramer, the project will replace the shuttered Royal George Theater and adjacent four-story structure to the south. The former theater space is now considered obsolete as it has been marketed to other theater companies including Steppenwolf and ultimately the size, capacity, and configuration in a post-COVID era make it undesirable to continue using it as a theater.
With SGW Architecture and Design in charge of the architecture, the building will stand eight floors high with a ninth partial floor that will hold amenity space and connect to an outdoor roof deck. Providing 133 rental units, the project’s unit mix will consist of 12 studios, 25 one-beds, 68 loft-style one-beds (borrowed light bedrooms), 26 two-beds, and a final 2 three-bedroom apartments. At the ground floor, retail space will stretch along the majority of the street frontage, targeted for restaurant use. Parking for 35 cars will be located in an enclosed garage off the alley.
Inspired by the theater past of the site and vibrant theater community of the area, the front facade is a subtle allusion to a theater curtain, folding the glass wall to create a rippling effect reinforced by the slab edge covers that reference a modern treatment of bay windows. The mass of the building is designed to align with the approved building planned to the south of this site, and the top floor of units have been pulled back from the street frontage to reduce the mass of the building along the street.
The development will be seeking a rezoning from B3-2 to B3-5 with an overall Planned Development designation. If the Chicago Plan Commission approves the project, the proposal will head to City Hall to get final approvals from the Committee on Zoning and City Council.