New brewery in works for Oxbow Landing

CATEGORY: Economic Development, News

November 16, 2014 – Andrew Steele

A new brewery is in the works for the Oxbow Landing development at Interstate 80/94 and Kennedy Avenue, taking the place of a brewpub planned by an Illinois brewery that couldn’t find financing.

The city’s Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday will consider selling 2.5 acres to Byway Brewing Co. to locate at Oxbow Landing, which is in the southeast quadrant of the interstate interchange. Earlier this year, a deal with Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery to build a brewpub at the site fell through when Flossmoor’s owner couldn’t raise the money to finance the project.

“After the Flossmoor brewery fell through, we saw a lot of people were excited about a restaurant-brewery at that location,” said Phil Taillon, executive director of the Hammond Planning and Development Department. “We started looking at other types of brewers, and started meeting with (Byway) about four months ago.”

Taillon said the partners in Byway Brewing – all from Northwest Indiana — have been brewing beer for some time, but haven’t had their own brewery.

“This is them taking a big step,” he said.

The city intends to sell the 2.5-acre parcel to Byway for $5,000, Taillon said. He said the land is appraised at about $140,000 per acre, or $350,000 total.

Taillon said that’s the only economic incentive the city is giving. “It works out very well for the city,” he said.

Flossmoor had been offered incentives worth more than $3 million.

The new brewery and restaurant will be about 12,000 square feet, Taillon said, less than half the size Flossmoor had planned. But because it’s on 2.5 acres, rather than Flossmoor’s 7.5, “that allows the city to attract more commercial development.”

And, “they do have space available for expansion in the near future if everything goes according to plan,” Taillon said of Byway.

Oxbow Landing is located at the site of the former River Park Apartments. Other projects in the works at the 23-acre parcel along the Little Calumet River include a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant and sports bar, and a four-story, 100-room Hampton Inn.

The Buffalo Wild Wings is scheduled to open later this month. Site work at the Hampton Inn is under way.

And, Taillon said, two office developers have entered option agreements with the city that give them until mid-January to find tenants for office buildings they want to build on 3.5-acre parcels at Oxbow Landing.

Meanwhile, Taillon said the deal with Byway appears more secure than the previous one with Flossmoor.

“They’ve shown they’re completely ready to finance the project,” Taillon said. “We believe they are well on their way to starting construction in the spring of 2015.”

The Redevelopment Commission meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall, 5925 Calumet Ave.