|Congress Hotel as seen from the alley across Franklin Street|
From a 1999 SUN article:
With a project cost of over $5 million in 2000 the original team sold the property in 2013 for 2.35 million. The sale of $3 million in 2015 shows recent appreciation but a loss for the original rehab team. That is not too surprising if one takes current conditions and compares them with the aspirations Ted Rouse had in 1999. The 500 and 600 block of Howard Street are still in the same condition they were then, even though 521 Park Avenue is a strong indicator for a better future. One would wish that the pitch given in the advertisement for the Congress would be closer to reality:
A beautiful historic landmark in a cosmopolitan neighborhood, The Congress offers luxurious amenities and remarkable conveniences. The Congress is situated near the Seton Hill Market Center and surrounded by prestigious Mt. Vernon communities. Boutiques, theaters, museums, concert halls and first class dining fare are all within a short stroll. A variety of distinct floorplans to choose from, all have been remarkably updated, you'll find everything you need with all the comforts of home and the convenience of downtown living. With its classic architecture and charming atmosphere, The Congress stands in a class of its own.As for Winstead Rouse, son of the legendary Jim Rouse, he still believes in the Westside and is currently pursuing a theater coop in the 400 block of Howard Street. As I noted earlier in a separate posting, there is indeed much progress in the area, it is just coming later than anticipated.
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA
1999 article when renovation was announced