HAMMOND | The City Council finalized plans Monday for a Hammond Station Restaurant and Brewery in a 9-0 vote.

Construction on the 28,000-square-foot restaurant and production brewery at Interstate 80/94 and Kennedy Avenue should begin by September with the brewpub potentially open by spring.

The parent company of Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery in Flossmoor has been open for 17 years. In addition to climbing sales, the business has received awards such as Best Small Brew Pub in America at the Great American Beer Festival.

Flossmoor Station co-owner Dean Armstrong said Hammond Station will be the first brewery in America built specifically for barrel-aged beers.

Flossmoor Station owners Dean and Carolyn Armstrong have had offers from Kankakee Township, Lansing and Joliet to build a secondary restaurant and brewpub, but settled on Hammond because of the city's economic council's efforts.

Hammond granted $3.5 million in incentives to support the approximate $10 million project of building the restaurant and brewery.

"Hammond is a great community, it just needs a little polish, a little jump-start," Armstrong said. "This was a hard sell, but it went from 'We don't need it' to 'We want it.'"

The resolution approving the agreement between the city and business was sponsored by City Council President Michael Opinker.

Opinker said building Hammond Station not only will help his district through tax revenue but give the residents a family oriented restaurant.

Hammond Station will be larger than Flossmoor Station, have a larger seating capacity of 492 seats and will hire more employees with an expected minimum of 100 hires.

"There will be a strong preference for hiring people in this community," Armstrong said.

Armstrong said he will seek diversity in hiring, as well as welcome a diversity of patrons.

Hammond Station will be the first business to develop on Hammond's Oxbow Landing. Opinker said other businesses such as an animal clinic and some hotels have approached the city about building in that area, but nothing has been made official.

Phil Taillon, executive director of the city's Department of Planning and Development, estimates 450,000 cars pass by Oxbow Landing.

"Others will see this successful business here," Opinker said. "And once they see that, they will jump on board, too."

Discussion of a parking lot ordinance, which puts restrictive times on public lots, was moved to the council's Aug. 5 meeting for final vote. Councilwoman Janet Venecz, D-at large, the ordinance sponsor, said she has gotten surprising responses on the ordinance.

She said a few downtown Hammond businesses and a resident voiced concerns on how the ordinance will affect businesses. There may be alterations to the ordinance before it goes to a final vote.

"There's a possibility of amending the (parking lot) time frame," Venecz said.

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