CITY HALL — The Chicago Plan Commission gave the green light on Thursday for Koval Distillery to open up a tap room and cafe in Ravenswood, despite concerns voiced by neighbors that the project would pollute the area and add to traffic congestion and litter.
If approved for a zoning change, the distillery’s tap room would move from 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave. to another part of so-called Malt Row, at 4241 N. Ravenswood Ave., which includes breweries Band of Bohemia, Empirical, Half Acre, Dovetail, Spiteful, Begyle and Smylie Brothers.
The liquor maker asked city officials to change the property’s zoning from M1-2, Limited Manufacturing/Business Park District, to C3-2, Commercial, Manufacturing and Employment District, to allow the building to be rehabilitated and transformed into a distillery, restaurant, tasting room, gift shop and outdoor patio.
Founded in 2008 by the husband-and-wife team of Robert Birnecker and Sonat Birnecker Hart, Koval was Chicago’s first post-Prohibition distillery.
$61 million River North towers approved
The Plan Commission also approved a a $61 million proposal to build a pair of office towers on what is now a parking lot at the intersection of Huron and Orleans streets.
North Wells Capital, the investment division of real estate firm Urban Innovations, needs special permission to build an eight-story building at 308 W. Erie St. as well as a 20-story office tower with 130 parking spaces next-door at 301 W. Huron St. in River North.
The new buildings would be adjacent to an approximately 10-story building.
The property is now zoned DX-5, Downtown Mixed-Use District. As part of the Planned Development application, North Wells plans to pay $3.22 million into the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund for permission to build a denser and taller tower than would be permitted otherwise.
Commissioners also approved a request from the owners of two apartment buildings to allow them to rent a portion of their units as hotel rooms.
New Jersey-based Hartz Mountain Industries plans to rent 161 of the 809 units at 1 W. Superior St. for stays of less than a month.
Developer Onni Group plans to to rent 60 units in the 456-unit Old Town Park apartment tower near Wells and Division streets in the 27th Ward to short-term residents.
The proposals could be considered by the City Council Zoning Committee at its next meeting scheduled for Sept. 10.