“Lake Effect Brewing Company is moving forward with plans to build its first taproom after the city approved the sale of a more-than-century-old vacant firehouse in Jefferson Park.
“Developer Ambrosia Homes has been working with the brewery since 2016 to acquire the firehouse at 4841 N. Lipps Ave. so it can open a brewery and restaurant in the first floor. Nine rental loft apartments are planned on the floors above.
“The City Council agreed Wednesday to sell the firehouse to Ambrosia for $1. The firehouse was originally built in 1906 but has long sat vacant.
“Tim Pomaville, Ambrosia’s president, has been navigating the city’s various city departments for years to acquire the city-owned property. He said he’s excited the sale finally went through and is eager to get started. The first step is cleaning up lead paint on the property, a project Pomaville estimates will cost $200,000.
“Lake Effect began selling beer in 2011 and is currently nestled between two underpasses and behind a costume shop at 4727 W. Montrose Ave. Owner Clint Bautz previously told Block Club opening a taproom and restaurant is the next step to grow his business.
“‘We are done with this phase. Now it’s time to execute the plan and start making beer,’ Bautz said, in a Facebook post after the sale was approved.
“The sale of the property to Ambrose almost hit a snag last year when the nonprofit Copernicus Center, which is down the block from the firehouse, launched an unsuccessful bid to buy the property.
“Now that the city has signed off, Pomaville said there are plans to host a grand opening party at the completion of the $2.4 million project.” (Hernandez, Block Club Chicago, 1/28/21)
The current revised redevelopment plans for the historic Jefferson Park Firehouse embrace the building’s history, character and authenticity. Preservation Chicago believes that embracing the historic character will contribute significantly to the success of the micro-brewery.
The Northwest Chicago Historical Society and Preservation Chicago encourages ownership and City of Chicago to seek a Chicago Landmark Designation for the building. This could be considered as an individual landmark or as an extension of the thematic Chicago Fire House Landmark District.
Preservation Chicago applauds Ambrosia Homes and Lake Effect Brewing for listening to the community, integrating the comments and adjusting the development plans to make the preservation-sensitive. We also applaud 45th Ward Alderman James M. Gardiner for his support. A special thanks to the dedicated and outstanding advocacy of the Northwest Chicago Historical Society, Susanna Ernst, Frank Suerth, and Jacob Kaplan.