The Congress Theater teams up with Doejo for major renovation project

Doejo founders Darren Marshall and Phil Tadros discuss Congress Theater renovations with Eddie Carranza.

We are excited to officially announce our partnership with the Congress Theater in Logan Square, an historic landmark of immense value to the independent music scene of Chicago. Below you’ll find the release we sent out and a call for small business owners, independent entrepreneurs, artists and more to be a part of the forthcoming changes. Read more from Chicago culture blogs Chicago Pipeline, ChicagoistGapers Block and BrooklynVegan.

CHICAGO, IL., July 25th, 2012. Doejo announces partnership with Congress Theater; Chicago Landmark to become a Logan Square neighborhood hub.

This fall, the Congress Theater Entertainment Center, located in the heart of Logan Square at 2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue, will undergo a bold renovation and reconceptualization to mark a new era for the landmark space. Since assuming ownership in 2005, owner Eddie Carranza has worked to bring Chicago’s last surviving independently owned historic landmark music venue up to code—catching up on decades of mechanical and electrical neglect in the theater, retail spaces and 46 studio apartments.  The cosmetic and business phase, as well as strategy and online development will be spearheaded by award-winning Chicago agency Doejo. In selecting Phil Tadros’ company to lead as a partner in the renovations, Carranza cited that “Phil [Tadros] has talent to turn old spaces into nice, hip spaces. He has that vision to bring out their natural look. Exposed brick, metals, beams and marbles. Old is cool so long if it’s done right, keeping the character of the building.”

A city block of opportunity lies within the 10 – 18 rehabbed street level spaces within the entertainment complex, which will be punctuated by a farmers market-inspired grocer, a cafe called Flat White and a forthcoming gastropub restaurant, all independently owned and operated. In keeping with the Congress Theater’s spirit and tradition of supporting independent artists and promoters, the historic landmark venue will be looking to build partnerships and help incubate small businesses to grow in the Congress’s retail spaces. The Congress will concentrate much of its revival and renovation in showcasing great talent, from contributing shop vendors to small business entrepreneurs. The Congress will also be seeking artists to display work in the lobby gallery and forthcoming business spaces.

The project is in line with 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno’s vision for attracting new businesses on Milwaukee Avenue, creating an arts and entertainment district with the anchor venue being the Congress Theater. Cultivating community engagement in the Congress will be a catalyst for growth in this corridor of Logan Square. Culminating up to this moment, this project has been a long time coming for owner Carranza, who says he’s poured his heart and soul into keeping the public entertainment center independent.

“I don’t want this building to be a cookie-cutter franchise-type building. I want to give it its own character, this isn’t a strip mall, this is Logan Square. We want to grow that indie spirit not break it up with a bunch of franchises. I’d like the Congress to be a great community center in Logan Square of diverse, independent boutique businesses—we’re looking for entrepreneurs with great ideas to invest in and grow with our space.” – Eddie Carranza

About the Congress:
The space, originally built in 1925 by Fridstein & Co, was designated as a Chicago Landmark in 2002. This bold renovation and reconceptualization will mark a new era for the building which boasts classical revival and Italian renaissance architectural style with terracotta detailing. While being known for accommodating independent bands and producers, providing light and sound equipment, the Congress also hosts the Logan Square Indoor Farmers Market (and has for the last three winters) as well as Dragon Gate USA professional wrestling shows, among other events.

About Doejo and Phil Tadros:

Doejo is a full service digital agency and startup accelerator headquartered in Chicago. The award winning agency provides branding, art direction, web design & development, startup incubation, creative marketing, social media strategy, commercial video production, and commercial storefront development services to a wide array of clients, from bootstrapped startups to Fortune 500 companies. Serial entrepreneur and Doejo CEO Phil Tadros has built, owned and operated many businesses throughout Chicago such as coffee shops Dollop, Noble Tree, Kickstand, the three cafes at Columbia College Chicago and the cafe at State Farm Next Door. His newest venture, Bow Truss Coffee Roasters just opened in Lakeview.