Four Corners Brewing Company kicked off 2016 by announcing a move from the Trinity Groves area in West Dallas to The Cedars, south of downtown. At the same time, the Manhattan Project Beer Company was searching for a home, and West Dallas was one of the founders’ top choices.
Four Corners, founded in 2011, had outgrown its little warehouse, but could afford land prices in The Cedars. Their new brewery went into operation on a 2-acre site last month.
Manhattan Project, the creation of husband-wife team Karl and Misty Sanford and best friend Jeremy Brodt, have marketed their brews in pubs and restaurants across the Dallas-Fort Worth area only since November 2016. But production depended upon leasing time from a brewery in Addison.
Misty Sanford said the couple has lived in Oak Cliff for about 10 years, and wanted to set up their own brewery nearby.
“We love the community that’s here and we love the support of local businesses. We considered The Cedars,” Sanford said, but the group found it was getting too pricey due to so much new multifamily development. The Sanfords wanted a building that was larger than their immediate production needs, a place they wouldn’t outgrow in five years.
Their two-year search ended earlier this summer, when they placed six lots under contract in West Dallas — that’s the majority of a city block.
Located at the northeast corner of Yorktown and Haslett Streets, less than two blocks south of West Commerce Street, the couple’s dream site is across the street from the Pike West Commerce Apartments. The Sanfords sold their Winetka Heights home in July to live in Pike West Commerce to literally look over their project.
“We chose this neighborhood because
we want to be an attraction.”
– Misty Sanford
The fact that the brewery could bill itself as the neighborhood’s replacement for the departing Four Corners was just the cherry on top. “There are so many multifamily units coming online in this area. We wanted to be part of the whole group down here,” Misty added.
Just within the past few years, three upscale apartment projects have opened in the rapidly-developing West Dallas area, with a fourth soon observing its grand opening. In addition to Pike West Commerce, Trammell Crow Company opened Alexan West Dallas, and Oaxacan Interests LLC opened Sylvan Thirty. Most recently, Alliance Residential began construction in 2015 on the Broadstone Ltd. luxury apartments at 305 West Commerce Street, and started leasing units this summer.
In addition to the brewery, the renovated warehouse will include 1,415 square feet of taproom space for tastings, along with a 4,000-square-foot beer garden. All in all, Manhattan Project is working with 11,634 square feet of space.
“The neighborhood has a lot of young professionals and a lot of young families. That’s why we want the large beer garden and greenspace,” Misty said. “The taproom will be separate from the brewery, but with a glass partition so visitors get to see through,” she added.
A crucial step in establishing the brewery was the passage of a zoning change to permit alcoholic beverage manufacturing, which involved getting the city’s Plan Commission to allow a long list of land use and building design changes, such as structural setbacks, the location of parking and loading, ceiling and roof heights, and hours of operation.
Prior to a July 20 public hearing before the commission, the Sanfords block-walked the neighborhood to build support.
“I personally went door-to-door introducing myself to people,” Misty said. “We did beer tastings. We spent a lot of time getting to know the community. Everyone was happy that we were coming.”
That support included the blessing of the Fort Worth Avenue Development Group, she added. Getting a favorable review from the group is no easy task, as the developers of Sylvan Thirty can attest. When the city staff turned in its opinion to the commission, it considered the ways a brewery could benefit the community:
“The request is characteristic of an Urban Mixed-Use Building Block because it will create a unique opportunity to experience the manufacturing and sale of alcoholic beverages on premise. The new use will add to the existing mix of residential and employment uses to provide a more vibrant blend of opportunities to live, work, shop and play. People on foot or bike can enjoy interesting storefronts and building facades, including updated existing buildings at ground level with wide sidewalks. This aids in creating an appealing streetscape.”
Thomas Development & Construction LLC will begin renovations in October, and the Sanfords anticipate having their grand opening by late February 2018.
Meanwhile, in The Cedars, Four Corners’ new taproom will be ready for the public in September. The brewery obtained City Council approval for its alcoholic beverage manufacturing request in April 2016.
Their immediate surroundings are still mostly underused industrial structures, but developer Jim Lake began work a few weeks ago on the landmark Ambassador Hotel. The city’s oldest surviving hotel building is a six-story structure that is being renovated into 103 mini apartments; average unit sizes will be 500 square feet.
Culturally speaking, Four Corners is now in a neighborhood better known for its pub scene and local breweries. The Gilley’s Dallas music venue is located in The Cedars at 1135 South Lamar Street, and next door to Gilley’s, the Dripping Springs-based Treaty Oak Distillery obtained a special use permit in November to manufacture alcohol at 1111 South Lamar Street.
No building permit has been issued yet, but Treaty Oak intends to oversee a restoration of the building that will include a tasting room, an accessory retail shop and a restaurant.