JOLIET – A brew pub plan for Union Station is moving forward, but how soon the business will open is unclear.
The co-owners of the future business want to open sometime this fall, but their timetable is uncertain because they have not been able to find architectural and engineering drawings that would make the project go more smoothly.
“We were hoping to open in the fall, but that may not happen,” Greg Lesiak told the Joliet City Council on Tuesday as the council approved a lease for the brew pub.
Lesiak and business partner Vince Turrise plan to occupy space previously used for a bar and restaurant in Union Station along with the former Amtrak office and other space.
They said they hope to start construction work in a few months but also want to find Union Station drawings that will help in the renovations.
“The process is very complicated,” Lesiak said. “The building is old. There are a lot of drawings and documents missing that we need to design our space.”
Union Station was built in 1912, but major renovations were done in 1991 to preserve the building and put it to new use. Lesiak said he has not been able to track down drawings from the city, the primary owner of the building, or firms that worked on the project in 1991.
“I don’t think the renovations [in 1991] covered the mechanicals and bones of the building that these guys need,” said Steve Jones, economic development director for the city.
The brew pub developers are looking for information they will need for venting, he said.
“It’s a challenge,” Jones said. “It’s not a deal-breaker at all.”
The microbrewery at Union Station would also can beer for retail sales.
The lease provides up to $300,000 in credits for construction costs, which would come off the $84,000-a-year rent. The lease includes options to extend the agreement after five years but at escalating rent that eventually would reach $102,000 a year.