“Ambrosia Homes, a local developer based on the northwest side of Chicago, has teamed up with Lake Effect Brewery, a local brewer of craft beers based in the 45th Ward, to redevelop and repurpose the old Jefferson Park Firehouse, which is currently owned by the City of Chicago and is vacant.
“Starting back in 2016, Ambrosia began developing concepts to share it’s vision of the future project. It’s initial concept was to add two stories to the building with the brewery on the 1st floor and apartments on floors 2 through 4. In 2017, Ambrosia began the Negotiated Sales Process with the Planning Department of the City of Chicago to purchase the building and rebuild it according to this vision.
“In 2018, Ambrosia and Lake Effect participated in a neighborhood meeting held at the Copernicus Center to share it’s vision for the project with all of the neighbors and solicit feedback. The meeting was standing room only with close to 200 people in attendance, including members of the local neighborhood groups such as Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association, Jefferson Park Forward, and the Northwest Chicago Historical Society. Representatives of the City of Chicago Housing & Planning Departments were also present.
“The meeting was widely covered by the local media, including the Chicago Sun Times, Nadig Newspapers, Block Club Chicago and Curbed Chicago. Two stories would be added to create a four story building, using as much of the same material as possible. The existing building condition was also discussed. While the feedback at the meeting was overwhelming positive, it was clear that the neighborhood groups had ideas that would make the plan better and that would need to be incorporated into the drawings.
“In 2019, Ambrosia, after receiving feedback from both Preservation Chicago and the Northwest Chicago Historical Society, decided to significantly change the plan for the redevelopment of the Firehouse. The fourth floor was removed entirely from the project and the remaining third floor addition was set back on the property while also changing exterior materials for the addition. Balconies were added to the Ainslie side of the project make up for the reduction in size of the project. With these changes, both of these historical groups offered letters of support for the project. Jefferson Park Forward has shared a letter of support for the project. The project has also received support letters from both the former Alderman and current Alderman of the 45th Ward.
“Staring in 2020, the City asked Ambrosia to pay for a new boundary survey of the property. In June of 2020, Ambrosia paid for additional architectural drawings that could be used for the zoning change needed for the property’s new uses. In July of 2020, the Chicago Development Commission approved the sale of the property to Ambrosia Homes. The zoning change was officially approved by the City Council in September 2020. In October of 2020, the Chicago Plan Commission reviewed the project and approved it. The final sale of the project needs to be approved by the City Council of Chicago.”