Vice District Brewing owner Curtis Tarver said a recent shutdown of his Homewood facility was largely due to having to comply with the village’s requests during construction.
A note reading “not approved for occupancy” was posted on the door of the craft brewery at 18027 Dixie Highway dated Oct. 26. Brewing operations are also not taking place at Vice District while the facility is shut down.
Homewood Village Manager Jim Marino confirmed that Vice District was closed for failure to correct code violations. Marino said the business was given a conditional occupancy permit when it opened on Aug. 31.
Homewood gave Vice District 30 days to correct plumbing and fire suppression code violations. Those corrections were not made, Marino said.
“The issue that has us shut down now was not something of which we were aware until I believe we were less than 30 days from opening,” Tarver told The Chronicle in an email. “What is not mentioned is that this is at least a $18,000 project to comply with the code.”
Marino said the village sent letters to Vice District in May 2016, January 2017 and August 2018 expressing what needed to be done to bring the building up to code.
“In addition, during inspections the fire chief (Bob Grabowski) and building and plumbing inspectors explained to Vice District’s contractor and representatives what they needed to do,” Marino said.
The board approved $100,000 in non-TIF business incentive funds for Vice District in September 2016. Both Marino and Tarver said the money was meant to help defray the cost of building out a taproom at Homewood’s request.
Tarver said his original plan was for the Homewood location to be a production facility. Vice District Brewing also has a location at 1454 S Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
“We explained to them that we did not raise money for a taproom or factor it into our budget,” Tarver said. “We did not get $100,000 in one lot. We received $80,000 the day we opened. It did not nearly cover the cost to build out the taproom, especially after at every single turn there became another issue (code matter) costing us more money.”
The incentive originally came with a stipulation that construction be completed within six months. The village granted a 12-month extension in March 2017 and another for six additional months in June 2018 due to construction delays resulting from permitting issues.
“We’ve done our best to help (Tarver) understand what needs to be done to meet the code requirements,” Marino said. “We look forward to Vice District reopening very soon.”
Tarver said he doesn’t yet have a timetable for when that will be.
“We are a small business. These types of things cripple us. On the heels of two terrible months revenue-wise it really is harmful to our business. We are only experiencing these types of issues because we agreed to provide a taproom. That is the irony,” Tarver said. “We have no choice but to satisfy the village. So we will.”