Former residents consider pub-brewery for fire hall

May 03, 1994|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Sun Staff Writer

A Seattle couple has signed a contract to buy the old Mount Airy fire hall and turn the vacant building into a restaurant/brewery.

The potential buyers are former Mount Airy residents Julie and Reid Allison III.

The Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company's board of directors approved the sale of the old firehouse last week.

Mr. Allison, a lawyer, said he first thought about the possibility of turning the old building into a restaurant/brewery when it went on the market about two years ago.

"It just came to me," Mr. Allison said. "Being a [former] Mount Airy resident, I thought it was something people there would be interested in.

"They're not smoke-filled bars," Mr. Allison said of restaurant/breweries. "They usually have a more upscale, pleasant environment."

Under the terms of the sales contract, the Allisons have 90 days to study the feasibility of establishing a microbrewery or pub-brewery on the old fire house property.

State laws governing the operation of the two types of breweries require restaurants on the premises and limit the amount of beer the breweries can produce.

After 90 days, the Allisons must rent the property from the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company until final settlement, which must take place on or before Feb. 1, 1995.

The Allisons lived in Mount Airy from 1989 to 1993 while Mr. Allison worked as an environmental lawyer for the Department of the Army in Washington, D.C.

If the brewery materializes, Mr. Allison said he and his wife plan to move back to Mount Airy and manage the business.

At this point, the Allisons aren't certain where they'll live. But they're requesting zoning approval to use the fire house as a residence and business to keep their options open, Mr. Allison said.

The couple has one child and is expecting another in the fall, Mr. Allison said.

Last week, the Mount Airy Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend allowing the proposed brewery as an exception. The proposal will be considered by the town's Board of Appeals at a public hearing Monday.

Mr. Allison said he intends to submit site plans for the project this week.

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