Ribbon cutting signals start of brewpub work

By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The controversy over the development of Port Washington’s north marina slip parking lot is nearing a close with Tuesday’s announcement that a groundbreaking ceremony for Inventors Brewpub will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 14.

The groundbreaking, announced by brewpub founder and owner Adam Draeger, will mark the beginning of lakefront construction, a narrowing of Washington Street and reduced parking near the lakefront this summer.

That’s especially true because the city last month agreed to close the south side of Washington Street to accommodate construction of the brewpub.

While two-way traffic will still be allowed on the street, several officials said the bigger issue will be parking, since Inventors is being built on a parking lot and during construction there won’t be parking on Washington Street near the marina.

The construction of Inventors is the final stage of a controversy that has split the community for more than five years, since officials decided to sell the lakefront parking lot for development.

The Inventors project, touted by many as a way to keep a growing business in downtown Port, is expected to increase the value of the property by approximately $5.8 million when it is completed next spring.

The 27,700-square-foot building will include a 10-barrel craft brewery, restaurant with 240 seats and a 250-seat event space with an additional 80 seats on the mezzanine level.

There will also be approximately 8,000-square-feet of space on the second floor.

Draeger said the new building will fill a hole “in the community and our current facility isn’t equipped to meet all the apparent needs.”

The brewpub is currently in the Van Ells-Schanen American Legion Hall, but isn’t able to expand at that space.

The groundbreaking is the latest chapter in the saga of proposed development on the parking lot at 305 W. Washington St.

After the city agreed to sell the property for development, it endorsed a plan to build the Blues Factory, an entertainment venue based on Paramount Records and its parent company,  Wisconsin Chair Co., on the parcel.

Supporters said they liked the concept and said the Blues Factory could prove to be a catalyst for downtown development, while those opposed to it decried the fact it would block lake views and eliminate a needed parking area.

Negotiations with developer Chris Long and then Gertjan van den Broek later broke down, but van den Broek purchased the property from the city. The Blues Factory was not developed.

Then in January, Draeger announced his proposal for the land. The new Inventors Brewpub, which will be built by van den Broek’s TBF Development Inc. and Inventors, quickly made its way through the city’s approval process.

The brewpub, like the Blues Factory, was given a $1 million development incentive from the city’s tax incremental financing district.

The brewpub is being designed by Striegel-Agacki Studio by Peridot Construction Management.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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