RSS

Tag Archives: Springfield National Historic District

Craft beer: A catalyst for neighborhood revitalization

MainAndSix-XL

Springfield building under renovation to house the Main & Six Brewing Company. Photo by MetroJacksonville.com

Just a few months ago, I stood before members of the Jacksonville City Council several times to express my support for breweries that wanted to open in the Springfield National Historic District. I used my three minutes of speaking time to hammer some facts about the benefits of breweries to re-emerging neighborhoods like Springfield. My goal was to impress upon the voting members of the Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) committee how breweries across the country have been instrumental in the revitalization of communities.

In its article, “Craft beer’s big impact on small towns and forgotten neighborhoods,” published, June 13, online housing news site Curbed captures the same information I spoke of in an in-depth article.

The article, by Patrick Sisson, weaves a compelling tale of how breweries have brought new life to forgotten towns and neighborhoods across the country. It even holds Jacksonville’s King Street Beer District out as an example of an abandoned commercial district that has seen an amazing turn around due to craft beer and craft beer breweries.

For my research, I dug up numerous stories of down-trodden areas that were brought back to life when a craft beer brewery moved in. Notably — and also mentioned in the Curbed article — is the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. Before Great Lakes Brewing Company set up shop in 1988, the neighborhood situated immediately west of the  Cuyahoga River, was a deteriorating district marred by abandoned buildings and plagued by drugs.

Today the Ohio City neighborhood is thriving with six breweries, shops, restaurants, night clubs and residential buildings. It is a prime example of the power or craft beer to bring people in to a neighborhood they would otherwise ignore. It illustrates how a brewery tap room can become a gathering spot that can serve as a catalyst for conversation about gentrification.

Today, in Jacksonville, we in the midst of a beer-fueled revitalization of multiple forgotten neighborhoods. The neighborhood known as Silvertown adjacent to Riverside and home of the city’s first craft brewery, Bold City Brewing Company, is seeing a rise in property values and an influx of new residents intent on restoring the historic homes and residing close to the bustling beer-centric nightlife hub of King Street.

Other local breweries such as Intuition Ale Works and Engine 15 Brewing Company have opted to utilize existing building stock in crumbling areas. Intuition took up residence in an old warehouse in the city’s Sports District nearly a year ago and has seen astounding success and growth because of the decision. Engine 15 bought a couple of warehouses in the crumbling LaVilla neighborhood. The addition of a small tap room at the brewery has seen an influx of suburbanites curious to visit the location.

In Springfield the addition of Hyperion Brewing Company on long neglected Main Street has already brought visitors from other parts of the city that had long eschewed the area. Soon, a new night club/restaurant, Crispy’s, will open providing another reason for outsiders to travel to the inner city. And, in late September or early October, Main & Six Brewing Company will join the other new-comers and older properties like Wafaa & Mike’s, Uptown Kitchen & Bar and  Tapas Old World.

With more breweries planned for the coming year, Jacksonville is poised to become the next great beer destination in Florida. One can only hope that they decide to settle in one of Jacksonville’s other abandoned districts to breathe life once again in to the Bold New City of the South.

Read the entire Curbed article here.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 14, 2017 in Beer, Beer News

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Second craft brewery wins rezoning approval and green light to open in Jacksonville’s Springfield Historic District

mainstreet

Image by MetroJacksnville.com

Last night, Tuesday, December 13, 2016, Hyperion Brewing Company officially became the second brewery to receive approval to open on Main Street in the Springfield National Historic District. With a Jacksonville city counsel vote consisting of 18 yeas and one nay, the brewery helmed by Alexandra McKeown and brewer Troy Orton will open at 1740 Main Street.

As I have noted in the past, this is exactly the type of business needed to help revitalize the Main Street Business District and bring other, quality businesses to the area. Time after time other cities have seen breweries bring enormous boosts to areas in need of restoration.

And, I am not the only one that says breweries bring gentrification. James Fallows, a freelance writer who, and his wife Deborah spent three years working on a project for The Atlantic that sought to find out what factors lead to the success of American cities following the Recession of 2007-2008. In the article, Fallows created a list of items that indicated a city was bouncing back. The final item on his list is of particular interest to beer-lovers.

“One final marker,” Fallows wrote. “Perhaps the most reliable: A city on the way back will have one or more craft breweries… A town that has craft breweries also has a certain kind of entrepreneur, and a critical mass of mainly young customers.”
Fallows was not the only advocate for craft breweries as economic engines for change. An article in USA Today published July 6, 2016 cites multiple examples of how craft breweries improved down-trodden and undesirable neighborhoods.

“The arrival of a craft brewery,” the article stated. “Was also often one of the first signs that a neighborhood was changing.”

One example cited by the article is the story of how Great Lakes Brewing Company transformed the downtown Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio from a decaying district, “Marred by abandoned buildings and boarded-up stores,” to a thriving market district complete with a renovated market, specialty shops, bars and restaurants.

The examples of what a craft brewery can do for a neighborhood are even visible right here in Jacksonville. To provide proof of the benefit craft breweries can have on a neighborhood at a Land Use and Zoning committee meeting, I looked at property values in the Silvertown neighborhood of Jacksonville where Intuition Ale Works maintains a brewery and Bold City Brewing Company has both a brewery and a tap room.

The results of my informal and unscientific study showed a staggering 18% increase in property values over the past eight years. It also showed an increase in home renovations and property sales. This is significant because Bold City opened in 2008 — eight years ago — followed by Intuition in 2010.

With Main & Six Brewing Company and now Hyperion Brewing Company coming within just a block of each other, Main Street is poised for rapid growth. This growth can only serve to increase property values for long-suffering Springfield residents who, though the neighborhood is growing and attracting younger families and professionals, have longed for a catalyst to spark the rejuvenation of the Main Street shopping district.

Only time will tell if the addition of Hyperion and Main & Six breweries will foster more interest in Main Street from other businesses. But, if the examples of other urban neighborhoods holds true, things are definitely looking up. In the meantime, Springfield residents will soon have the benefit of being able to walk to their own local breweries. And that ain’t bad.
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 14, 2016 in Beer, Local Brewery

 

Tags: , , , , , ,