Surly Brewery Plans Advancing

Surly Brewing has secured the nearly $2 million in environmental cleanup grants it was seeking to develop a $20 million, 60,000-square-foot destination brewery near the University of Minnesota’s TCF Stadium.

The Hennepin County Board on Tuesday granted $450,000 to the city of Minneapolis for cleanup of the 7.46-acre demolished food processing plant site at 3171 Fifth St. SE. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development granted $1 million earlier this month, and the Metropolitan Council has provided $545,300.

The grants represent the majority of the money Surly needed to develop on the site, which is owned by Minnetonka-based Michael Foods’ Northern Star subsidiary. For tax purposes, Hennepin County values the land at more than $600,000.

“This is a big step in the process and will allow Surly to move forward in the next steps to potentially acquire and redevelop the site,” Surly said in a statement provided by a spokesman. “Now it’s on to the next steps in investigation and design.”

Lee Jones, a spokesman for the company, declined to discuss project timelines or any other details including whether there’s a purchase agreement to buy the site. He referred questions to the city of Minneapolis, where city spokesman Matt Laible said the City Council will need to formally accept the grants.

Laible said the grants make up about 80 percent of the $2.5 million Surly had sought.

“Now that the $2 million has been secured, Surly is considering whether those grants allow them to take on the site, or if the remaining environmental funding gap and site prep costs are still an issue,” Laible said in an email.

The new brewery would be Surly’s second. Its existing 24,000-square-foot facility is at 4811 Dusharme Drive in Brooklyn Center.

For years, Surly President Omar Ansari has wanted to build a new location to meet the demands of an enthusiastic Surly Nation of customers. Ansari has wanted a “destination brewery” including a restaurant.

Ansari and his customers in 2011 persuaded the state Legislature to pass the so-called Surly Law, which allows breweries to sell beer in onsite taprooms. The law has helped fuel a craft-brewing boom in Minnesota.

No general contractor has been announced yet. Minneapolis-based HGA is the architect of record for its planned $20 million brewery. The Minneapolis-based TEGRA Group is representing Surly in its search for a site.

According to a recent DEED news release, the brewery is expected to create 67 jobs, retain 15 jobs, and increase the city’s tax base by $193,064.

Source: Finance and Commerce