Tumwater brewhouse, property sold

TUMWATER - The historic brewhouse at the foot of Tumwater Falls has a new lease on life after the building, the land around it and two parking lots were sold to a Centralia businessman who said Wednesday that he doesn't have any immediate plans for the property other than to clean it up.

The new owners are George Heidgerken and his business partner, Patrick Rhodes, who paid $1.4 million in cash for the 200,000-square-foot brick brewhouse, 32 acres of property that surrounds the building and two parking lots. Heidgerken also owns the 150,000-square-foot warehouse at 240 Custer Way S.W., which he purchased a few years ago, he said Wednesday. The brewhouse and warehouse were once part of the historic Olympia brewery.

Heidgerken, 69, called his decision to buy the brick brewhouse a great investment because the property is unique and in a great location. “It’s one of a kind,” he said. “We haven’t identified a use yet, but we’ll figure that out as we go along. We’ll come up with a master plan for the property and work like heck to get it done.”

The sellers of the property were Capital Salvage Inc. of California, a group of investors who owned the remaining brewery property after they foreclosed on the previous owner, Barney Ng and his company, Well B Ng, said Troy Dana, the commercial real estate agent for the property.

So far Heidgerken is trying to get the brewhouse and property into usable shape and has been in touch with Tumwater city officials and the Olympia-Tumwater Foundation, he said. “We are trying to work with the building, the community and the investment world and make it work,” Heidgerken said.

Tumwater Mayor Pete Kmet said Wednesday that Heidgerken and those working for him have been removing vegetation and trying to correct a drainage issue that causes water to run into the brewhouse. They also have asked the city for assistance in removing trespassers from the building, Kmet said.

“We’re helping him get the building stabilized and hope something will come out of that,” he said. He added that the city has not scheduled a time for Heidgerken to make a presentation to city officials about his plans, although Kmet supports the idea. “I think it would be great for him to come in once he has a firm idea about where he wants to go with it,” he said.

Heidgerken and Rhodes formed Brewhouse LLC to acquire the building and property. Heidgerken lives in Centralia and has an office in Tacoma, he said.

In May, Heidgerken and Rhodes paid $1.375 million cash for a former post office in downtown Tacoma, a 1909 four-story limestone building at 1102 S. A St. He also bought land and mineral rights once belonging to the old Milwaukee Railroad and 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.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403