JEFFERSON PARK — 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.
“Our first step is remediation of the property, and once that’s completed the build-out of everything else can start once we have permits,” Pomaville said. “And our hope is to start the remediation process as soon as humanly possible.”
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.
“When we get to the point for a grand opening, hopefully the pandemic will be over and we’re planning to have a massive party for the entire neighborhood,” Pomaville said. “And we can’t wait to be very involved with neighborhood block parties once we can safely get back to that.”
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