Chicago restaurant and brewery could expand to Wheeling

A vacant building on the north side of Wheeling's Restaurant Row may soon see some activity.

The entrepreneurs behind a Chicago restaurant and brewery called District Brew Yards want to open a second location at 700 N. Milwaukee Ave. That's the 2.8-acre site of the former Ram Restaurant & Brewery, which closed in January 2019.

Containing four breweries, a beer and eating hall, and a retail store, District Brew Yards allows customers to pour their own beer; the place charges by the ounce. Only people 21 or older are allowed inside.

A limited liability company representing District Brew Yards has a contract to buy the Wheeling site. The company plans to renovate the 11,668-square-foot building, add an exterior deck and resurface the parking lot, village documents indicate.

Building improvements are expected to cost between $400,000 and $850,000. Additional equipment upgrades and installation are expected to cost more than $1.3 million.

Work could begin in early 2022 and wrap up in May for an opening that month, a lawyer for the company said in a letter to the village.

The operation is expected to generate up to $142,000 in annual sales taxes, documents indicate. It would employ between 25 and 30 full-time workers.

As part of its plan, the company has applied for a property tax discount from Cook County.

The regular assessment rate for commercial property in Cook County is 25% of the fair market value. The requested break would reduce the assessment rate to 10% for the first three years, to 15% for the fourth year and to 20% for the fifth year, according to the county's rules.

The deal would save the company about $595,000 in taxes over five years, documents indicate.

The tax deal requires the consent of the village board and approval by the Cook County Board.

The village board will consider the tax proposal when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday at village hall, 2 Community Blvd.

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Ram Restaurant & Brewery in Wheeling permanently closed

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