Eris Brewery and Ciderhouse is proposed to open in a former Masonic temple


by BRIAN NADIG

The Eris Brewery and Ciderhouse which is proposed to open in a former Masonic temple at 4240 W. Irving Park Road is not expected to open for at least a year, as the 102-year-old building must be brought up to code and liquor licenses must be obtained.

The installation of an elevator, sprinklers and an interior fire-escape stairwell are among the planned improvements for the 4 1/2-story building. A grain silo and a dining patio also are planned.

The operators of Eris have a combined 20 years experience in the hospitality, craft brewing and cider industries, according to Alderman John Arena (45th). The operators of Eris have worked with craft beer companies Goose Island and Revolution.

The $5 million project also requires the 28,000-square-foot parcel to be rezoned from B3-1 to C1-5, which would be the densest zoning in the area. The zoning change is needed to allow the manufacturing of beer and hard cider and to eliminate parking requirements for the project.

"The only reason we’re entertaining that (C1-5 zoning) is this is an adaptive re-use of an historical building," Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said. "We are talking about a building that has been off the tax rolls since around 1910."

The building has been occupied by Korean Bethel Presbyterian Church, which has plans to move to a new location, for the past 20 years. The church has a 40-space parking lot, but the lot does not meet code, and the brewery would be required to have wider spaces and aisles and to add a storm water retention system, Brugh said.

Access to the parking lot is from a driveway on Tripp Avenue and from the alley behind the site. Plans call for the brewery to have a 17-space parking lot.

"We have plenty of on-street parking on Irving Park," project attorney John Pikarski Jr. said. The brewery’s operators are seeking to lease parking spaces at the Irving Park YMCA, 4251 W. Irving Park Road, for special events at Eris, Pikarski said.

Anthony Alfano, Arena’s director of economic development, said that the alderman plans to meet with residents who live on Kildare Avenue across the alley from the site to discuss any concerns they may have about the project.

Some residents have expressed concern that delivery vehicles for the restaurant might block access to their garages. Delivery vehicles would enter off Tripp and either exit onto Tripp or through the alley to Irving Park Road, and trucks would be unloaded behind the building, Pikarski said.

The brewery would require the approval of city, state and federal agencies, Pikarski said.

To make the site eligible for city liquor licenses, Arena had to introduce an ordinance lifting a moratorium on new packaged goods licenses in the area and had to work with state officials to get passage of a bill which amends the Illinois Liquor Control Act of 1934. Harvest Christian Center Church, 4020 N. Tripp Ave., is next to the site Eris, and state law prohibits issuance of a new liquor license within 100 feet of a church.

The amendment approved by the Illinois General Assembly waives the restriction for the property. Representatives of Harvest Christian officials provided the state a letter stating that it would not oppose the amendment.

The first phase of the project would entail opening the restaurant and brewery operations, followed by opening banquet facilities on the upper floors, Pikarski said. The building has a mezzanine that overlooks the first floor.


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