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Chicago hat company with Hollywood clients may get new space

  • JOHNNY DEPP stars as legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger, the charismatic bank robber whose lightning raids made him the number-one target of J. Edgar Hoover's fledgling FBI, in the new action-thriller from filmmaker Michael Mann "Public Enemies." Depp is standing on the steps of the Masonic Temple in Oshkosh. The domed and columned building over Depp's shoulder is the Oshkosh Public Library.
JOHNNY DEPP stars as legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger,… (handout )
October 16, 2013|By Leonor Vivanco, @lvivanco | RedEye

You may have spotted Johnny Depp wearing them in "Public Enemies" when the movie was filmed in Chicago.

The hats made by the Optimo Hat Company were also used in films such as "J. Edgar" and "Road to Perdition." The company, with locations downtown and in Beverly, counts Blues legend Buddy Guy and Tom Hanks among its celebrity clientele.

The city is looking to sell a two-story fire station built in 1915 at 1706 W. 95th St. to the company. The firehouse closed in 2008 after a new station was built nearby, according to a news release issued by Mayor Emanuel's office.

Under an ordinance introduced Wednesday by Emanuel, the property valued at $190,000 would be sold for $1 so the company can rehab the space into a millinery, producing custom-made hats on the ground floor and housing offices upstairs. Renovations are expected to cost more than $800,000, the news release said.

The current production facility in Beverly would be converted to a retail location.

The land sale proposal goes to the Committee on Housing and Real Estate for consideration.

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