The City Council has approved the allocation of $27 million in TIF funding to support the redevelopment of the long-vacant Congress Theater. Located at 2135 N. Milwaukee, the historic Congress Theater sits at the corner of N Milwaukee Avenue and N Rockwell Street. Baum Revision has taken over as the developer, replacing previous developers who failed to move the project forward.
Designed by Woodhouse Tinucci Architects, the plan for the rehabilitation includes a full historic restoration to the theater, retail, and housing space. Work will restore the existing finishes without altering the layout or organization of rooms within the structure. The renovation will upgrade all of the mechanicals of the structure, including ventilation, electrical, plumbing, and the roof. New windows will be installed that will match the character of the original windows.
Beyond the theater, the property fronts the street with 13,000 square feet of retail space and two levels of residential space. Storefronts will be renovated and made to match the original storefront layouts. 16 apartments, 14 of them affordable, will be included in the Milwaukee Ave building including studio, one-bed, and two-bedroom units. No parking will be included within the development.
The $88 million plan will use the $27 million in TIF alongside other funding sources to finance the project. A key part of the city’s approval included the three-year extension of the TIF district, giving the developer more time before the TIF funding expires.
With these final approvals secured, the development is ready to move forward with permitting and construction. A timeline for completion is currently unknown.