By Juliet Martinez
The massive, three-story brick structure at 5005 Lytle will return to its original use after 85 years next spring. That is when the Hazelwood Brewing Company will come back to life with three craft brewers, an independent food vendor, a beer garden and incredible views from the rooftop deck.
“We're bringing back an original industry in the community,” said David Kahley, the president and CEO of The Progress Fund, a nonprofit community development financial institution. “And hopefully that brings with it not only jobs - about 46, we expect - and four new businesses, but some Hazelwood pride.”
“This is all about sharing a little bit of community,” Mr. Kahley said. He referenced the Greater Hazelwood Neighborhood Plan, which has “Make Greater Hazelwood into a hub for entrepreneurs and small businesses” as one of its development priorities (p. 80). The brewing company will be a mini-hub of its own for the four small businesses. And it will give neighbors a place to gather and socialize that harkens back to old Hazelwood.
The 117-year-old building, finished in 1905 and in active use until 1938, is entering the final stages of renovation now. When I visited in early June, a concrete crew was putting the final touches on the new floor of the third brewery space.
Once the Brewing Company opens, Mr. Kahley said the side facing away from Lytle Street will offer parking and a ground-level beer garden where guests can relax and enjoy a local craft beer in good weather. In cold or wet weather, the third-floor tasting rooms will offer a place to socialize and try any of a variety of craft brews. Roof-top deck will entice guests with impressive views of Hazelwood and the city.
The brewery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When I visited, workers were building an elevator addition. Mr. Kahley explained that it will look like a new addition onto an old building, rather than blending into the look of brewery, in line with National Park Service standards for rehabilitating historic structures. These also mandate that they do not change the building’s silhouette, so the safety rails around the rooftop deck will be set back from the edge and not visible from the ground.
Seeing to these details and countless others has made this a lengthy process. Mr. Kahley admits the neighborhood has probably been wondering when something was going to happen with the brewery. Developing real estate is just slow, he said. But the zoning and building permits are all secured now. Things are picking up.
“It’s sort of like we were crawling, and now we’re in a sprint,” he said.
He said he expects to have occupancy permits by November. At that point, the brewers can move in, have their equipment delivered, get it set up and start brewing and testing their beers. By March, they should be open for business.
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