Do-it-yourself car repair shop planned for Montrose-Cicero site


A former manufacturing plant at 4739 W. Montrose Ave. is being converted into a do-it-yourself car repair shop.

Too often residents in the city have to work on their car while it is parked on the street, or, if their home has a garage, it is too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer, said Central Illinois native Tim Heyen, one of the founders of Gearhead Workspace. The repair shop is planned for the former 10,000-square-foot Air-Mite Devices Inc. facility, where a proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary failed 2 years ago.

“I’ve been a lifelong car enthusiast, and I grew up in an environment where it was easy to work on a car,” Heyen said. “Most people (in Chicago) don’t have access to that.”

Plans call for Gearhead to feature repair bays with a vehicle lift, a small retail shop and a lounge for its members, who receive discounts on the rental of bays and standard tools. Non-members can rent space per hour, as availability permits.

Heyen aid that he believes his business model for car repairs is unique to Chicago, although there is a similar-type business for motorcycles already open in the city.

A 10-space parking lot for the repair shop is planned for an asphalt-covered lot at 4720 W. Pensacola Ave., which is located across an alley from the former Air-Mite plant. A 132-year-old house is located next to the lot, which is zoned for manufacturing uses.

A special use permit is required for the parking lot because it would be located more than 100 feet from the shop’s main walk-in entrance on Montrose. The Zoning Board of Appeals is expected to hold a hearing on the special use request later this year.

A stairway leading to the Mayfair Metra Station is located along the east side of the former Air-Mite plant, which produced air arbor presses.