Business

Plans solidify for brewhouse

Longtime South Sound artist Jane King enjoys a pleasant Wednesday afternoon in Tumwater Historical Park while painting a watercolor of the historic Tumwater brewhouse.
Longtime South Sound artist Jane King enjoys a pleasant Wednesday afternoon in Tumwater Historical Park while painting a watercolor of the historic Tumwater brewhouse. The Olympian

TUMWATER - The historic brick brewhouse on the former Olympia brewery property could soon have a new owner, one city officials say is committed to preserving the old building.

Tumwater Mayor Pete Kmet and city administrator John Doan met Tuesday with George Heid-gerken, a Centralia businessman who is the managing member of Managing Green LLC, a company that acquired a historic post office building in downtown Tacoma this year. Heidgerken acknowledged Wednesday that he has the brewhouse under contract but declined to comment until the sale is finalized. The sale is expected to close in about two weeks, said Troy Dana, the commercial real estate broker for the brewhouse and remaining brewery property.

“They seem to be committed to preserving the building and bringing it into productive reuse,” Kmet said about Heidgerken and his business partners’ plans for the property. If the sale goes through, it likely will inject some life into the property more than seven years after the overall brewery closed in June 2003. Before the main brewery closed, the historic brewhouse is thought to have been used for storage.

Under the terms of the sale, Heidgerken’s group would acquire the brewhouse, surrounding property and two parking lots north of Custer Way, Dana said. At one time, the brewhouse was listed for $2 million and the two parking lots were listed for $1 million, he said.

In May, Heidgerken and his partner, Federal Way businessman Patrick Rhodes, paid $1.375 million cash for the 1909 four-story limestone building at 1102 S. A St. in downtown Tacoma, according to a story in The News Tribune. His offer for the brewhouse property also is an all-cash deal, Dana said.

Heidgerken, 69, also bought land an mineral rights once belonging to the old Milwaukee Railroad, The News Tribune reported. He bought the defunct Huron University in Huron, S.D., in 2006. Last year, he tried to buy the 82-year-old Washington ferries Illahee, Klickitat, Quinault and Nisqually for $650,000, saying he wasn’t sure what he’d do with them but that the pieces of history needed to be saved.

In addition to restoring and returning the brewhouse to productive use, new owners would stabilize and secure the property, which is a “high priority” for the city, Kmet said. The homeless have been known to occupy the property, and it caught fire this year, causing cosmetic damage, Dana said.

Doan cautioned Wednesday that a deal isn’t done yet, although he is excited about the action taken on the property so far, he said.

The remaining brewery property continues to generate interest from potential suitors, Dana said. An investor group from an undisclosed Pacific Rim country has requested information about the property, and so has an undisclosed Seattle-based developer, he said. Barney Ng of California was the previous brewery property owner until a company with ties to the Ng family and other investors foreclosed on it. Those owners call themselves Capital Salvage Inc., Dana said.

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