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Strawdog Theatre Co. Might Move If New Development Is Built

By Mina Bloom | May 4, 2015 5:46am
 A 2006 production at Strawdog Theatre Co., 3829 N. Broadway.
A 2006 production at Strawdog Theatre Co., 3829 N. Broadway.
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LAKEVIEW — One long-time tenant at North Sheridan and Broadway might move if plans to transform the corner into a mixed-use development get final approval.

For the last 27 years, Strawdog Theatre Co. has called the second floor of 3829 N. Broadway home. But now building owner and developer Dave Gassman wants to redevelop 3817-45 N. Broadway, which would leave the small theater company in limbo for 14 to 18 months while their space is being redeveloped, according to artistic director Hank Boland.

The Strawdog team said in a letter to the the 46th Ward's zoning committee that producing theater elsewhere while waiting to return to a redeveloped theater simply wouldn't work for them, especially considering their lease is up in June 2019.

"For a business such as ours, the idea of being displaced for 14-18 months to return to a 'potential' new space, sight unseen and rate unfixed, is not a strategy we are confident will secure success or survival," the letter reads.

It goes on, saying "It is not our desire to stand in the way of progress; however, we do hope that should progress create the need for us to leave our home, that opportunities for a new home in the 46th Ward might also be created."

Also in the official letter is a list of the theater company's contributions to the neighborhood. 

"Our presence is a cultural and financial benefit to the neighborhood and the Ward. For 27 years we have consistently brought arts consumers and cultural foot traffic into the shadow of The Chateau to see our work, and benefit the neighborhood," the letter reads.

Gassman's proposed development includes 93 residential units, 93 parking spots, office space and retailers. It received almost unanimous zoning approval from the zoning committee last week, which means it's one step closer to becoming a reality. Now the proposal is in the hands of the city's Department of Planning.

Gassman has said if the development is completed, he "can't accommodate [Strawdog] again in the building."

Ald. James Cappleman (46th), whose ward includes the development, said he is working with the Strawdog team to help them find a new home in his ward, or elsewhere.

It is unclear whether other existing retailers on the stretch of Broadway in question will stay if the development is built.

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