At the May 25 meeting of the City’s Economic Development Committee, Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, gave an update on the City’s acquisition of two buildings, 727-729 Howard St. and 627-629-631 Howard St.
The City acquired the properties using TIF money, in order to “get control of some of the services, business and activities that are along Howard Street,” Ald. Rainey said. She also said the City is “very far along in attracting” a Chicago theater company, Polarity Ensemble Theatre, to 727-729 Howard. The company is currently based in the Wicker Park neighborhood.
“They came to us and we didn’t really know what to do with them, because we don’t really know anything about running a theater, and they don’t know anything about starting a new one,” Ald. Rainey said.
She said consulted the Northwestern student group Lending for Evanston and Northwestern Development (LEND), which offers business training and capital to assist in small business start-ups in the city.
“We believe it will be the beginning of the rebirth of business on Howard Street,” Ald. Rainey said, adding that LEND has helped develop both a business plan and capital fundraising plan for the location. A number of architects are also contributing pro bono work to the project.
“It’s almost as though this egg hatched and out came this fully formed theater,” Ald. Rainey said.