Attn: Brewpubs or Breweries–Chicago Contractor Looking For You!
Posted by Bob Skilnik on April 15, 2008
About once a year, I get an e-mail or telephone call from someone who wants to open up a brewpub or brewery in Chicago. They tell me they have all their ducks in a row…and a year or two later, nothing has happened. Some readers might recall the high hopes of a brewpub being built in the Beverly section of Chicago…and then nothing.
I’m now talking to a contractor who supposedly has ownership of a building on the Chicago register of historic buildings and additional empty land across the street. It’s on the South Side of Chicago, in Bridgeport. If you haven’t been to Bridgeport lately, the transformation has been amazing. Condos, a new business center, multi-million dollar houses…and Daley’s left, to boot. But it needs something to forever remove the stigma of being a a knuckle-dragging neighborhood of White Sox fans who hide in wait of unsuspecting Cubs fans during the annual CrossTown Classics, or whatever the hell they call the on-field clashing of the Sox vs. Cubs teams…and the subsequent stories of Cub fans being handed their heads for the trip back over Roosevelt Road.
Where was I? This guy owns a plumbing business, tells me he has the go-ahead of the local alderman, and is looking for a brewpub or brewery to work with to begin the anchoring of new businesses in the area. Like GI’s old situation, this building is located in a TIF area, so there’s a City of Chicago tax stimulus package involved. He’d rebuild the building interior to specifications if he had someone moving in and wants to build other retail shops across the street.
The old business district on 35th and Halsted has been rebuilt, there is new construction everywhere in the area, and as I remember Goose Island when it first opened, this area is much less life-threatening than GI’s neighborhood used to be. Compared to what the Halls built their business on, this area’s a paradise, a stone’s throw away from U.S. Cellular Field, I-55 and the Dan Ryan…15 minutes to The Loop.
Anyway, he’s talking about a multi-million project. He has continued to call me every 6 months or so and keeps me up-to-date on his progress. Just talked to him last Friday. Since the news came out on Monday about The Goose, and I spoke to him last Friday, it’s almost like fate has entered the arena.
Aside from the combined 26,000 sq ft on two levels, he figures the basement would add another 13,000. He’s pricing this at around $40 per sq ft or so and would adjust this for a long-term lease. What makes this nice is the fact that the the lessee could add input for whatever was needed before construction begins and not have to retro-fit around something. That and plenty of parking, a rare North Side thing. The alderman’s supposed to be a big supporter of the development. Construction begins in June.
You want a Chicago venue for Real Ale…with fracking parking to boot? Here it is, but first it needs a brewpub.
And I haven’t even talked about the development of the property across the street…