“Plans to turn a former Jefferson Park fire station into a brewery and apartments are set to move forward after a legal battle over the site.
“Developer Ambrosia Homes intends to add a third story to the 115-year-old building and create nine market-rate rental units, and Lake Effect Brewing Company plans to move into the ground floor.
“The $208,000 sale of the city-owned building, at 4841 N. Lipps Ave., closed Tuesday, said Ambrosia principal Tim Pomaville. The funds will be used to reimburse the developers for the costs of removing hazardous materials, such as lead paint, from the property.
“The firehouse was built in 1906 and served the Chicago Fire Department until the early 1990s, said Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago. For a time, it was used as a storage facility for city equipment but it has been vacant since around 2012, and has fallen into disrepair, he said. Preservation Chicago is pleased with the plans for the firehouse, particularly since Ambrosia included changes to its plan that preserve some of the building’s history, Miller said.
“‘We’re really, really hopeful for the future of this building,’ Miller said. ‘And excited for the community of Jefferson Park to have a historic building reactivated, and to a use where people can reenter it and enjoy its history.’
“Ambrosia originally proposed a larger addition on top of the building, but after discussions with preservation and community groups decided on one extra story and set it back to clearly distinguish it from the original firehouse, Pomaville said. Ambrosia is also working to restore elements of the building facade.
“Pomaville said the brewery would include an outdoor patio, and Lake Effect could move in by the end of the year.” (Freishtat, Chicago Tribune, 4/7/21)
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.