Tenants sought for two historic buildings in Jefferson Park on Chicago’s NW Side
by BRIAN NADIG
The owner of two historic buildings in Jefferson Park is hoping to find commercial tenants for both properties that will help revitalize the area’s struggling business district.
“When someone wants to see the firehouse (at 4837-41 N. Lipps Ave.), we also take them to see the Lero (at 4762-64 N. Milwaukee Ave.) and when someone wants you see the Lero, we also take them to the firehouse,” said developer Tim Pomaville of Ambrosia Homes.
The goal is to attract a business, such as a restaurant or retailer, that would generate foot traffic for the area, Pomaville said. “We definitely want to see something great go there and bring life to those blocks,” he said.
Last year Pomaville purchased the 110-year-old building, which has been vacant for about 30 years, except for a period of time when a manufacturer operated on the second floor until the city shut it down due to licensing and permit issues.
Pomaville said that the two-story building was recently cleaned up and is ready for lease. The first and second floors each measure about 5,000 square feet with 12-foot ceilings, plus a full basement.
The Lero building, which is named after a previous owner, features a bow truss roof. The structural style was more common in the early 1900s and includes an arched beam above with a straight beam below.
Pomaville said that his main goal is to find tenants for the building but that he also recently had the property listed for sale because some potential tenants have indicated hat they would rather own than rent. The asking price is $695,000.
At one time the city Department of Planning and Development considered condemning the building and acquiring it through eminent domain but backed off on the plan. The property is located along a stretch of Milwaukee in Jefferson Park where several buildings have been vacant for decades.
Meanwhile, Pomaville said that he also is seeking a commercial tenant for the first floor of the former firehouse, which the city sold to him in exchange for putting about $200,000 in an escrow for the property’s environmental remediation. The remediation has been completed, and all of the funds spent, he said.
“It’s totally clean inside. Before it was unsafe,” Pomaville said of the 118-year-old, two-story structure.
Plans had called for a ground-floor brewery and a third-floor addition, with eight apartments on the upper floors, but the brewery has opened elsewhere and the third-floor addition may not happen.
The site was rezoned in 2020 to accommodate the project, but the zoning expires after two years. Under the previous zoning, up to six residential units would be allowed on the site.
Pomaville said that he may forgo the third floor and redevelop the site with residential on the second floor and commercial on the first.
Ambrosia also is seeking a tenant for the site of a former spa establishment at 5251 N. Milwaukee Ave.
For leasing information, call Ambrosia at 312-437-8292.
Meanwhile, another Jefferson Park development is facing potential roadblocks because of its zoning expiring. Plans called for 31 apartments and commercial space to be built at 4900 N. Milwaukee Ave., but its zoning review for a pending construction permit was denied.