MillerCoors lifts restriction on alcohol at ex-brewery

Staff writerJune 20, 2013 

MillerCoors has agreed to lift the deed restriction that prevented alcohol from being produced at the former Olympia Brewery, likely kicking the door open a little wider to attracting a new buyer and user for the site.

The change in the deed restriction was announced Thursday by Troy Dana, the commercial real estate broker who has been trying to sell the brewery property since 2008 after the brewery closed in June 2003. The final whistle at the brewery blew on June 20, 2003, and then the plant shut down a week later, resulting in 400 layoffs.

MillerCoors was unavailable for comment.

Portions of the property have been sold before and after Dana became the listing agent, and Thursday’s deed restriction announcement applies to those properties as well, including former brewery property that is now owned by the city of Tumwater, the LOTT Clean Water Alliance and South Sound Bank — which foreclosed on some property along Capitol Boulevard that was once owned by developer Tri Vo. The property north of Custer Way that is owned by Centralia-developer George Heidgerken and includes the old brewhouse below Tumwater Falls, also now lacks the restriction.

The 31 remaining acres, which include the most visible buildings above Tumwater Falls, are owned by a California company called Capital Salvage.

“It’s going to change the perception of the complex dramatically,” Dana said about the change to the deed restriction, which he expects will be recorded next week.

“It’s a whole new product and a whole new opportunity,” he added, saying he plans to revisit his marketing materials for the property, as well as check in with those small to midsize breweries that have made past inquiries about the former brewery.

Brewery redevelopment project manager Michael Matthias, who was hired by the city of Tumwater and Thurston Economic Development Council to advance the development process, said the deed restriction hung over the brewery like a cloud, and was a deal killer for other breweries.

“Now we don’t need to have that discussion,” he said. “I’m delighted that it’s off and free.”

John Potter, a consultant who is working with Heidgerken on his property north of Custer Way, said MillerCoors’ decision to lift the deed restriction is an important milestone for the property.

Dana said the deed restriction was applied to the brewery property after it was sold to All-American Bottled Water Corp. in 2004, a company that never bottled water at the site.

Miller likely used the deed restriction to prevent a competitor from using the property, Dana said.

Rocky Parent, 57, of Olympia, who worked at the brewery for 17 years, also praised Thursday’s announcement.

“It’s a great site for any beverage manufacturing process,” he said.

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