Indications from last fall were that Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno was growing more receptive to the clarion call of preservationists who were fast organizing opposition to the plan for a HHgregg big box development on the site of the shuttered Brand Brewing complex at 2530 N Elston. The city responded by placing a "hold" on demolition of the non-landmarked late-19th century complex. It was a very short-lived placating gesture— the hold was removed a week later. And just today, a reader forwarded his photos of demolition in progress. The administration building and adjacent brewhouse are the focus of the photos, designed by prolific brewery architect Louis Lehle. Most of his local work is gone, but the notable Schoenhoffen Elston Ave Bottling Branch remains nearby. Our tipster remarked that little apparent effort has been made to salvage the finer architectural details: "Decorative terracotta and carved stone are littering the ground around the wrecked building." Yeah, that's bad. Key Development Partners controls the site's fate, and, whether or not HHgregg fulfills its anti-urban dream, adaptive reuse is clearly out.
·Dispatches from Big Box Land: How to Save Brand Brewing [Curbed Chicago]