PARTIAL WIN: Jefferson Park Firehouse Adaptive Reuse Moving Forward, Despite Lake Effect Brewery Backing Out

“Far Northwest Side neighbors are disappointed and frustrated after Lake Effect Brewing Company bowed out of plans to open a taproom in a historical neighborhood firehouse, joining a line of businesses pitched for the area that never opened their doors.

“Lake Effect announced Tuesday it was abandoning the firehouse project, which began in 2016, due to years of city delays. With its lease up in December, the Old Irving Park business secured a building in Avondale and plans to move operations in the next few months.

“City Council agreed to sell the firehouse, built in 1906 at 4841 N. Lipps Ave., to Ambrosia Homes last year as part of its $1 land sale program. Ambrosia paid $208,000 to the city, which used the money for remediation reimbursement. Eight rental loft apartments are planned on the floors above.

“The $2.4 million development was scheduled to be completed by this summer. Ambrosia President Tim Pomaville said he will resubmit plans to the city once a new tenant is in place.

“‘It took five years for the building to be sold to Tim, who had the money and is a very willing developer,’ Ryan Richter said. ‘To me, there is a larger issue around the city’s various bureaucracies, commissions and committees this property had to go through.’

“Since the Lake Effect Brewery news was announced, Pomaville said his phone “has been blowing up.” He’s been showing the space and has received several leads for tenants to take the firehouse’s ground floor.

“‘Everyone is very positive,’ Pomaville said. ‘I’m keeping the city [informed], and people are aware. Everything is going to be very good.’

“Pomaville said he is committed to bringing in a business that has the same spirit as Lake Effect, such as a restaurant, bar or brewery. That makes neighbors like Baehring happy, as they want to see more walkable eateries in the area that can benefit from access to the CTA, she said.

“‘The adaptive reuse [of the firehouse] is great,’ Baehring said. “Whatever tenant can go in next, I hope it can get whatever support they need to move into the space.'” (Parrella-Aureli, Block Club Chicago, 7/14/22)

Preservation Chicago applauds Tim Pomaville and Ambrosia Homes for his dedication and commitment to this adaptive reuse over the past 5 or more years. He genuinely partnered with the community, listened to and integrated the comments, and changed the trajectory of his development accordingly. A special thanks to the dedicated and outstanding advocacy of the Northwest Chicago Historical Society, Susanna Ernst, Frank Suerth, and Jacob Kaplan. The Northwest Chicago Historical Society and Preservation Chicago encourage Ambrosia Homes 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.

Read the full story at Block Club Chicago

After Lake Effect Brewery Calls Off Jefferson Park Plans, Neighbors Ask: What Will It Take To Keep Promising Businesses? The developer is committed to bringing another brewery, restaurant or bar to the historic firehouse and has been showing the space this week, Ariel Parrella-Aureli, Block Club Chicago, 7/14/22

Lake Effect Brewing Won’t Open Taproom In Jeff Park Firehouse After Years Of Delays, Heading To Avondale Instead; After six years of planning, Lake Effect Brewing’s owner said he couldn’t wait any longer for construction to start on the historical firehouse. The taproom is slated to open in Avondale early next year, Ariel Parrella-Aureli, Block Club Chicago, 7/11/22

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