Brewery, apartments planned for former Jefferson Park firehouse
by BRIAN NADIG
A redevelopment plan for the former firehouse in Jefferson Park calls for a brewery and nine apartments and for a two-story addition to the 112-year-old historic building.
“I am pleased to announce an exciting development proposal for one of the oldest remaining firehouse buildings in the city. The development would mean an expansion of local craft beer brewer Lake Effect Brewing Co. and would restore historic details to the former Jefferson Park firehouse, which sits on the southeast corner of Ainslie and Lipps.
“Lake Effect would be the ground-floor tenant, brewing beer on-site and offering a tasting room. The developer, Ambrosia Homes, plans to invest $2.4 million in the city-owned property, which was built in 1906,” Alderman John Arena (45th) said in his Feb. 23 newsletter.
Ambrosia Homes is seeking to rezone the property, located at 4835 N. Lipps Ave., from B3-2 to C1-3.
“It will be a negotiated sale for fair market value. They’re still working through the details,” Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said of Ambrosia’s plans to buy the property from the city.
The Bureau of Sanitation 45th Ward office had been located in the former fire station until a few years ago. Several developers have looked at purchasing the two-story building from the city, but the high cost of bringing it up to building code standards reportedly dissuaded away some potential buyers.
“The nine apartments would be two-bedroom, attracting professionals who seek easy access to the nearby Jefferson Park Transit Center. The design would retain the current building while adding two floors and re-installing some architectural elements that were previously removed. Ambrosia Homes is not seeking any city financial assistance for this proposal,” Arena said.
“Lake Effect has become a neighborhood fixture since opening at 4727 W. Montrose Ave. in 2011, notably brewing 45th Ward Pale Ale using hops grown within the ward. They would continue to maintain that location, in addition to the Jefferson Park firehouse site where patrons could sample Lake Effect beers and enjoy an outdoor seating area,” Arena said.
Arena will hold a community meeting on the proposal at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8, in King’s Hall on the third floor of the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.