Sycamore distiller wants to convert industrial space into tasting room, restaurant, event space

Chris Mayer of Windows Distillery seeks Sycamore city feedback for expansion on North California Street

Chris Mayer of BCM Industrial Park is seeking Sycamore city approval for a plan to convert industrial space at 421 N. California St. in Sycamore (shown here Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023) into a distillery with a tasting room, full-service restaurant, banquet and indoor and outdoor event space. The Sycamore Planning and Zoning Commission will review the proposal Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.

SYCAMORE – A Sycamore distiller wants city feedback for his plan to expand his distillery into a restaurant, banquet facility and indoor-outdoor event space.

Chris Mayer of BCM Industrial Park LLC operates Windows Distillery at 421 N. California St., according to its website. Andrew Pape of Chicago-based Epstein Global design and construction also is listed on the proposed project, documents show.

Mayer was not immediately available for comment Sunday.

Mayer will present a development proposal to Sycamore’s Planning and Zoning Commission at its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Monday in the Council Chamber at Sycamore City Center, 308 W. State St. A development plan also would need approval from the Sycamore City Council.

According to city staff, Mayer and his design team from Epstein already were notified of “some of the potential challenges” for his project relating to zoning and compatibility with the adjacent neighborhood. No vote is expected Monday from the commission.

“The purpose of the [meeting] is to hear from Mr. Mayer regarding details of the proposed project, facilitate discussion regarding the development of the subject property and provide him with feedback,” city staff wrote in documents.

Chris Mayer of BCM Industries is seeking Sycamore city approval for a plan to convert industrial space at 421 N. California St. in Sycamore (shown here Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023) into a distillery with a tasting room, full-service restaurant, banquet and indoor and outdoor event space. The Sycamore Planning and Zoning Commission will review the proposal Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.

The 41,300-square-foot industrial space would include a distillery with a full-service restaurant, live entertainment stages, a tasting room and event spaces called Windows Distillery, according to concept plans.

No liquor would be distilled on the premises. Package liquor would be sold in small amounts. The restaurant would be separated from the manufacturing space at 421 N. California St., according to the proposal.

The building sits between West North Avenue and Page Street and would include new parking, exterior lighting and landscaping along with an exterior patio and stage.

“The project will not only improve an existing industrial site, but will also introduce a new supper club-style restaurant for the local population, as well as create a venue to draw others from outside the community for special events,” Mayer wrote in his proposal. “Special care has been given to preserve the historic and industrial nature of the site while creating a comfortable and inviting space for locals and visitors alike.”

Windows Distillery is listed as a “passion project” for Mayer, according to its website, who in 2016 co-founded an equipment supply company for commercial growers, Innovative Growers Equipment Inc., also on North California Street.

Throughout the six years running his company, Mayer set his sights on distilling whiskey, according to the website. Windows Distillery also sells gin, bourbon and vodka.

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