WIN: Covent Hotel to be Restored and Redeveloped as Affordable Housing

Architects Pereira & Pereira transform the Covent in 1934 to a Art Deco facade in a modernization effort. CinemaTreasures.org
1948 photo of the Covent Theater entrance, which today is the driveway to the parking lot, the site of the demolished theater. CinemaTreasures.org

“The Covent Hotel, a historic single-room occupancy (SRO) building in Lincoln Park, could be restored and redeveloped into a mixed-income project offering both affordable and market-rate units. The nonprofit NHP Foundation and partner Drummond Development presented their plan for the site at 2653 N. Clark Street at a community meeting earlier this month, hosted by 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith.

“The Covent was originally built as a combination theater and hotel. Although the performance venue was demolished in the 1960s, the remaining three-story building stayed in operation as an SRO. Under the current redevelopment plan, the Covent’s 60 single-room units will become 30 affordable-rate studio apartments with private bathrooms and kitchens. The existing building will also include 4,900 square feet of renovated ground-level retail as well as new amenity spaces for residents.

“Renovating and repurposing Chicago’s historic SRO’s has become an increasingly popular practice in recent years. Projects include the overhaul of the historic Carling Hotel, Mark Twain Hotel, and Lawson House YMCA into larger, affordable apartments. River North’s former Olympia Building SRO turned into a limited-service hotel known as Found Chicago.” (Koziarz, 10/8/19)

Read the full story at Curbed Chicago

“The Covent Garden Theater, opened in June 1916 for the Lubliner & Trinz circuit, could originally seat 2,684, and was one of the largest theaters in the Lake View neighborhood of Chicago. It featured vaudeville and stage shows as well as motion pictures. The theater was taken over by the Balaban & Katz chain on December 22, 1932 and was renamed Covent Theatre. It was remodeled in 1934 by the firm of Pereira & Pereira.

“The theater was part of a complex which also included the Hotel Covent, or Covent Hotel. It was closed in 1958. When the theater was demolished, only the auditorium was razed, replaced by a parking lot. The hotel remains today.” (Krefft, Cinema Treasures)

Covent Theater History, 2653 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614, CinemaTreasures.org

Additional Reading
Lincoln Park’s old Covent Hotel could be developed into mixed-income apartments; A proposal would renovate the 1906 building and construct a new seven-story apartment block next door, Jay Koziarz, Curbed Chicago, 10/8/19

SRO Ordinance Saves Another Historic Chicago Hotel, ChicagoArchitecture.org, 12/21/16

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