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Finance Committee Backs $6.6M Tax Subsidy For Ramova Theatre Renovation Plan

CHICAGO (CBS) – The $23 million plan to revive the long-vacant Ramova Theatre in Bridgeport as a live entertainment venue, restaurant, and brewery would get a big boost from the city, through a tax subsidy approved Thursday by the City Council Finance Committee.

The city would provide $6.64 million in tax increment financing for the project to renovate the 91-year-old theater at 35th and Halsted.

Ramova Theatre
The Ramova Theatre in Bridgeport has been closed since 1985, but will get a $23 million renovation thanks in part to a $6.6 million TIF subsidy from the city of Chicago. (Source: O'Riley Office)

The Ramova Theatre, originally a single-screen movie theater, has been closed since 1985. The city bought the building in 2001 for $285,000, and has spent more than $360,000 on maintenance costs since then.

The city now will sell the theater and a neighboring vacant lot to Brooklyn-based Our Revival LLC for $1, and provide $6.64 million in tax increment financing funds toward the renovation project, under a redevelopment agreement approved by the Finance Committee on Thursday.

Our Revival plans a $22.9 renovation of the Ramova and the neighboring lot into a concert and dining complex; featuring a live music and entertainment venue with room for 1,600 people, a restaurant, and a brewpub.

Ramova Theatre
Rendering of the renovated Ramova Theatre, which will become a concert venue, restaurant, and brewery. (Source: O'Riley Office LLC)

"I think this will be a great catalyst for this part of the community on Halsted Street," said Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th).

City officials said the project would create up to 110 construction jobs, and 80 permanent full-time jobs once the new facility opens.

The tax subsidy for the project now goes to the full City Council for a vote at its next meeting.


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