After a dozen years of disappointment following the closure of the Olympia brewery in 2003, a new owner and vision has emerged for the beloved site.
A hotel and convention center are among the early redevelopment ideas coming from the project manager of Tumwater Development LLC, a Washington-based company. It paid $4 million for four brewery parcels.
Tumwater Development LLC, whose primary member is Chandulal Patel of Southern California, acquired the following:
▪ The 7.2-acre parcel south of Custer Way that is home to the more modern brewhouse that sits above Tumwater Falls. The parcel contains about 457,000 square feet of building space.
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▪ The 22.2-acre parcel east of Capitol Boulevard in Tumwater Valley. That parcel contains about 344,000 square feet of building space.
▪ Two vacant, multifamily parcels totaling about 2 acres.
“We want to do something great for the community,” said project manager Ronny Vogel, who talked to The Olympian about Patel and some of the ideas for the property this week.
Patel is a real estate investor and developer who splits his time between Southern California and India. He has developed 18 hotels, mostly in California, Vogel said.
Patel, Vogel and Olympia architect Ron Thomas toured the brewery property on Christmas Eve, Vogel said.
The $4 million sales price was below market value, largely because the buildings have sat unused for so long, said Jeff Gadman, administrative manager for the Thurston County Assessor’s Office. A comparative value to when it was a working brewery was not immediately available.
Asked about Patel’s interest in the property, Vogel said: “It’s a phenomenal opportunity to build something for the community and city of Tumwater.”
Tumwater assistant city administrator and brewery project manager Heidi Behrends Cerniwey said the city looks forward to working with the new owners.
“The brewery is near and dear to the community and how (the redevelopment) happens is really important to them,” she said, adding that the owners seem open and responsive.
Vogel is the chief financial officer and broker for Assets America, a Seattle-based commercial real estate business and brokerage that also finances commercial real estate projects. Vogel helped obtain a loan for the buyer of the property, he said.
The first order of business, Vogel said, is to erect a chain-link fence around the Custer Way property to improve security.
In the next six months, Tumwater Development LLC has a number of steps planned, including meeting with city of Tumwater officials and other stakeholders about the brewery property.
The LLC also plans to do a feasibility study that will focus on the Custer Way property to determine whether it will renovate the property or demolish it. It not only is considering a hotel or convention center on that site, but multifamily housing, a craft brewing and distilling center, community gathering spaces, other commercial/retail use and parking.
Tumwater Development plans to renovate the buildings east of Capitol Boulevard and put them up for lease, Vogel said.
Vogel said Tumwater Development is well aware of how the community regards the former brewery and its wishes to see it change for the better. The owners share that desire, too, he said.
“We want to be thoughtful, respectful and mindful, and proceed accordingly,” Vogel said.
Assets America has ties to Olympia. It has financed the Village at Mill Pond, a 300-unit master-planned community on Lilly Road, and Silver Leaf Residences, a 200-unit, 55-and-older community at Yelm Highway and Henderson Boulevard.