Plans are moving forward to open a brewery across from an upcoming downtown Gastonia, NC ballpark, providing an early sign of economic activity in the area.
Gastonia officials have been planning the new ballpark as part of a downtown development plan dubbed the Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment (FUSE) District, a 16-acre redevelopment project. The ballpark, which will effectively act as a multiuse facility, is slated to host an independent Atlantic League team beginning in 2021, while being designed to accommodate a variety of other events, including concerts, soccer, lacrosse, and football.
The hope has been that the project will lead to further development in the surrounding area. To that end, city officials and private investors are working on a plan that could lead to a brewery opening across from the ballpark site. On Tuesday, the Gastonia City Council approved a master development agreement that should pave the way for the brewery, as private investors would purchase a 5,000-square-foot space from the city and undertake renovations. The investors, who would own the building while courting a tenant to operate the brewery, are aiming to have the space up and running ahead of the ballpark’s spring 2021 opening. More from the Gaston Gazette:
“We’d like to be open ahead of the schedule for opening the ballpark,” said Zachary Boshamer, one of the investors behind the budding brewery concept. “We would like to get people down into the FUSE District well ahead of the grand opening of the stadium.”…
On Tuesday, city leaders took the next step in their negotiations with the company. Council members approved a master development agreement that will lead to the creation of a brewery within a 5,000-square-foot outparcel of the Coca-Cola building that faces Trenton Street.
“This is an exciting item and an exciting day,” said Gastonia Economic Development Director Kristy Crisp. “The city has been working on our FUSE project about five years now. And one of the consistent messages that we’ve had during this entire project was how FUSE at its core was an economic development project, and that we wanted to recruit private development to work along with us as we were building the stadium.”
DMD Investors is headed by local businessman and longtime local resident Donald Doctor, as well as Boshamer, who is a Hunter Huss High School graduate and a lead investor in the entity. Their goal isn’t to brew the beer themselves at the new business, but rather to develop the building and secure the tenant who will.
Gastonia officials are aiming for more development in the future–a hotel is among the amenities they hope is eventually developed–but having a brewery in place would fit the goal of more economic activity in the area, while adding a nearby attraction for those visiting the new ballpark. When the Gastonia club begins play, it will mark the Atlantic League’s second team in North Carolina, joining the High Point Rockers. The Rockers opened a new downtown ballpark, BB&T Point, last season.
Rendering courtesy Pendulum Studio.
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