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A Trumbull School Development Offer Has Been Accepted, TimeLine Theatre Will Have a New Home

Last November, at a packed auditorium at the old Trumbull School, five development companies made their pitches to repurpose the building in which they sat. Chicago Public Schools had closed the location earlier in the year along with many other schools after seeking ways to cut spending, With rumors swirling about possibilities of the wrecking ball, residents in attendance were able to hear the bids and what these companies proposed for the site.

Almost a year later, Chicago Public Schools has officially selected the highest bidder, Svigos Development, a company with a history of preserving historic buildings, including similar projects at both Peabody and Mulligan schools. They are proposing 45 residential apartments and condominiums that will be sold at market rate. Most importantly, they are to keep the existing grand auditorium.

And in equally big news, it was announced that TimeLine Theatre will be the official occupant of the auditorium and most (if not all) of the first floor space.

In the initial proposals, TimeLine was included in another bid from Chicago Development Partners (CDP). But TimeLine was informed two weeks ago that CDP was outbid by Svigos. PJ Powers, artistic director at TimeLine, explained to EVB, “CDP was incredibly gracious and they felt strongly that TimeLine should be at Trumbull. Because of that, they encouraged us to reach out to Svigos (which) was among the top two. We contacted Svigos to determine if a partnership with us might be possible. I think it’s fair to say that our relationship with them is still fairly new, but it’s been positive and we look forward to collaborating on the next steps.”

At the Trumbull auditorium, Powers is thrilled to have all his operations in one place. He believes this will help expand their impact on the community, reaching a broader audience, while still retaining the intimacy and flexibility that has always been integral to TimeLine’s work. 

TimeLine Theatre says it seeks to tell “stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues with an artistic team that produces provocative theatre and educational programs that engage, entertain and enlighten.” It has provided 15 years of art and earned much success.

Being in this remarkable, historic building speaks directly to our mission — exploring the past, while connecting to the present and future. Our new home will be increasingly accessible to our patrons, providing dedicated parking spaces, elevators, ramps and other facilities to improve accessibility and experience for all of our patrons and staff, as well as comfortable bathrooms and reception spaces. And it will include an immersive lobby experience to support every production,” Powers said.

Alderman Pat O’Connor said in an email that “The Svigos bid presentation, which was done at my community meeting last fall, was deemed to be acceptable to the neighborhood group representatives that participated in the community involvement process.”

I have asked Svigos to provide the renderings of their plans for the site as well as representative floor plans for the residential units,” O’Connor added. “I will provide these renderings on my website once they are available. At this point, Svigos will work with the Board of Education to finalize their purchase of the property.”

The second highest bidder was the Waldorf School. If for any reason Svigos will not be able to make good on its proposal, the Waldorf School will be considered if it is still interested in the opportunity.


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