Steppenwolf breaks ground for new theater building as part of $73 million expansion project

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Credit: Steppenwolf Theatre

Steppenwolf Theatre Co. has broken ground on the next phase of its multi-year campus expansion in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.

The new state-of-the-art theater building will “embody the distinct vision of Steppenwolf as a Chicago theatre that is home to America’s ensemble,” Steppenwolf said in a statement.

The total cost of Steppenwolf’s multi-year expansion which consists of three phases is $73 million. The new building at 1646 N. Halsted makes up $54 million of the total $73 million.

The building, located on Halsted St., is designed by world-renowned architect Gordon Gill of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and London-based theater design team Charcoalblue. It will be built by Chicago-based Norcon Construction.

Slated to open in the summer of 2021, the new 50,000-sq.-ft building will feature an intimate 400-seat In-the-Round Theatre only six rows deep—the only one of its kind in Chicago—that puts the actor at the center and brings the audience closer than ever before.

It will also feature a dedicated education floor, a bright and open two-story atrium lobby, and a wine bar and a sidewalk lounge. The new building will house Steppenwolf’s costume shop and other updated production amenities.

The new theater building is located at 1646 N Halsted between the existing parking garage and the main theater building, connecting the campus across the west side of Halsted St. As part of the expansion phase, the lobbies of the Downstairs Theatre will also undergo major renovations to better serve audiences.

The parking garage at 1624 N. Halsted will remain and undergo cosmetic changes to its façade to create symmetry across the campus.

The expansion project began in 2016 with phase one which included the 1700 Theatre and Front Bar: Coffee & Drinks. Following the completion of phase two—the new theater building and renovation of the existing Downstairs Theatre lobbies— Steppenwolf is now starting phase three of the expansion.

“This exciting expansion is sure to attract new visitors to Chicago, introduce new audiences to the arts and inspire countless young fans to expand their horizons and reach for new artistic heights,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in prepared remarks. “In the Year of Chicago Theatre, Steppenwolf is one of many proud examples of the talented actors, actresses, producers and directors throughout the city and downtown that together strengthen Chicago’s global reputation as worldwide leader in innovative, impactful and groundbreaking artistic performances.”

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