“Englewood Brews, once a promising enterprise planned for a beleaguered Southwest Side neighborhood, may be dead in the water as owners, a local development corporation and the area’s alderman clash over the project.
“Roth blamed the Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation, which held the lease on the building, but officials for the organization denied shutting down any work. Leaders did confirm the group canceled Englewood Brews lease in spring of this year after months of legal wrangling, though they provided few details. But Derrick Warren, executive director of the Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation, said the group long supported the project despite numerous roadblocks and a “lack of respect” from Roth and Marchese.
“Englewood Brews was to be the first taproom and brewery in a predominantly Black neighborhood. It has been a four-year-long labor of love for owner Lesley Roth and her partner, Steve Marchese. The pair raised tens of thousands of dollars and started construction on the project last year in a vacant storefront at 821 W. 63rd St. Then the work stopped.
“The purpose of the community-minded Englewood Brews venture was twofold: to give Englewood’s economy a much-needed shot in the arm while broadening access to an industry that has traditionally shut out Black and indigenous people of color.
“Roth and Marchese launched an IndieGoGo campaign in December to raise $50,000 in hopes of completing the buildout of their space. The campaign has netted nearly $36,000 so far.
“Construction started that month but was abruptly halted. Roth claims their contractor found asbestos, which she said isn’t uncommon. She said they notified the development corporation and U.S. Bank, which owns the building.
“‘U.S. Bank totally understood the issue and was fine, since we were paying for the remediation, and encouraged us to keep going,’ Roth said. “But GECDC used this as leverage to ask us for additional assurances that we would pay them a contribution.’
Officials with the development corporation said Englewood Brews subleased the space for free, even though they valued it at $15,000 a month. They also said the lease contained certain terms Roth and Marchese violated, but they said they could not be more specific.The two sides went back and forth through their attorneys for a year. The development corporation gave the owners one last chance to comply with the lease before it was ultimately terminated in April.” (Nesbitt Golden, 6/6/20)
Read the full story at Block Club Chicago
Amid Bitter Feud, Long-Planned Englewood Brewery Grinds To A Halt
In one corner, a brewery promising to bring economic development to Englewood. In the other, a nonprofit organization out of patience, Jamie Nesbitt Golden, Block Club Chicago, 6/16/20