Signs of New Life at the Historic Congress Theater

"Congress Theater Chicago" by Thomas Irvin - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

"Congress Theater Chicago" by Thomas Irvin - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

BTL Architects is pleased to be a part of a project that will bring new life back to one of Chicago's most intact neighborhood movie "palaces." The Congress Theater, located in Logan Square and built by Fridstein and Company in 1926, contains a 2,904-seat auditorium and was designated an historic landmark in 2002. The building has enjoyed a colorful and sometimes controversial past - and is being restored in anticipation of a bright future as a live music venue.

The $55 million major renovation project will restore the theater along with the store fronts and residential units that surround the theater. As reported by Paul Biasco in DNAinfo Chicago, the restoration group behind the project (New Congress LLC) is headed by Michael Moyer, who led the $20 million restoration of the Cadillac Palace Theatre downtown.

Architectural rendering by Woodhouse Tinucci Architects.

Architectural rendering by Woodhouse Tinucci Architects.

The Congress Theater features ornate interior and exterior design work in a combination of the Classical Revival and Italian Renaissance styles. You can see pre-restoration photos in this Curbed Chicago article from January 2015. The first phase of restoration, including the repair and reset of terra cotta and tuck pointing, has been underway this fall. The restoration aims for listing the Congress Theater on the National Register of Historic Places. Watch for more on this project in future posts.