This from Dennis McGuire, Jr:

Excerpts from

The rehabilitation of two historical Jefferson Park buildings could help revitalize the neighborhood, and the developer is looking for tenants.

For the past eight years, developer Tim Pomaville has been working to transform the Jefferson Park firehouse at 4841 N. Lipps Ave. into a mixed-use residential development. The initial plans involved Lake Effect Brewing Company setting up its taproom on the ground floor, but years of delays and complications to buy and rezone the property prompted the brewery to pull the plug in 2022.

Ambrosia Homes, Inc. has similar plans for the Lero building at 4762 N. Milwaukee Ave. Pomaville. Both buildings are ready for commercial tenants to draw people to Jefferson Park. Ambrosia Homes unveiled plans to invest $2.4 million into the former Jefferson Park firehouse in 2018.

Built in 1906, the firehouse has been vacant for years. The city council agreed to sell the property to Ambrosia Homes in 2021 as part of its $1 land sale program. Ambrosia paid $208,000 to the city, which used the money for remediation reimbursement. Lead paint and asbestos had to be removed from the fire station.

With Lake Effect’s taproom on the ground floor, the plan was to add a third floor and building nine apartment units in the upper levels.

The property had to undergo a zoning change in 2020, and a liquor sales ban was lifted along the street in 2021. After six years of waiting, Lake Effect couldn’t weather any more delays as its lease at 4727 W. Montrose Ave. was up at the end of 2022, the owner said at the time. Instead, the brewery found a different location.

Now, Ambrosia Homes is looking for another business to take over the space. The ground floor could be split into two 4,000-square-foot units that would each be rented for about $3,700 a month. Plans for the residential portion of the building have also changed. The firehouse will likely remain two stories, and the upstairs will have four apartments.

While some potential tenants have asked about buying the firehouse, Ambrosia Homes is not looking to sell.

Named after its former owner, the building functioned as a billiard hall and amateur boxing ring in the 1920s. Over the years, the two-story bow truss building has also housed a relief center for people struggling with food insecurity, a community hall and a furniture business. The building has largely sat vacant for the past 30 years.

The Lero is a prime location just a short walk from the Jefferson Park Blue Line station and next to a cannabis dispensary called Cannabist, which revitalized two empty storefronts in 2022.

Like the Jefferson Park firehouse, the Lero’s ground floor could be split into two 5,000-square-foot units. Rent for each would be $3,800 a month, but Ambrosia Homes is willing to sell the building for $695,000.

If Ambrosia retains ownership of the Lero, they plan on building six apartments on the upper floor and are considering adding a third floor. The building has six parking spots in the back.

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