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Rabid Brewing will get a financial boost from the village of Homewood to help the new craft beer company finish developing its brewery and taproom on the east side of town.

At the board meeting April 12, trustees approved $40,000 in incentive funding for the project from the village’s non-TIF Business Incentive Program.

The village will reimburse Rabid God LLC up to that amount for costs incurred in the buildout of the establishment at 17759 Bretz Drive. The cost of the buildout is estimated at $95,100. The total start-up costs for the brewery are projected to be about $225,000, according to Homewood Economic Development Director Tom Vander Woude.

He said village staff had a couple of reasons for recommending the project receive the maximum funding allowed. Craft breweries are among the types of business the village hopes to attract, and the location is a good fit for it. 

He noted that the brewery/taproom combination has elements of industrial and retail activity. The business complex on Bretz Drive is zoned for industrial uses and is located adjacent to the Halsted Street corridor, the village’s main retail center. 

The brewery will fill a spot in a long-underused complex. The three buildings were constructed in 2007, just before the recession brought economic growth to a halt. The unit Rabid Brewing leased has never been improved or occupied, Vander Woude said.

“It’s essentially a shell. It will require extensive upgrades,” he said. The company will need to add another restroom, grease trap, rooftop HVAC unit and other electrical and plumbing improvements.

The non-TIF incentive program has goals and requirements that are the same as the village’s tax increment financing programs, but the funding comes from the village’s general fund rather than from TIF-generated funds.

Vander Woude said village’s financial contribution is about 18 percent of the total start-up cost, which is similar to what the village has invested in other business. He said if the company’s revenue estimates are accurate, the village could recoup its investment in about three years through tax revenues from the business.

Trustees spoke in favor of the project, but Trustee Ray Robertson asked whether the fact that the company’s application for a federal license was outstanding should be a cause for concern. 

Rabid Brewing founder Tobias Cichon said the licensing process is lengthy, lasting about three months. 

“We’re confident the license will go through,” he said. “They want to make sure we’re measuring everything properly.”

The agreement between the village and Rabid Brewing requires the business to complete the buildout and begin operation before being eligible for reimbursement. 

Related stories:
Rabid Brewing gets approval from Homewood trustees (H-F Chronicle, March 24, 2016)
Homewood will soon have its own craft brewery (H-F Chronicle, Nov. 7, 2015)

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