Friday, February 8, 2008

Ale House of Fredericksburg

Today we get to see the incentive package for Ale House of Fredericksburg. Thanks to Emily Battle of FLS for pointing out that this is now on the city website.

Here's the breakdown, they're getting 25k from JumpStart for improving the building, and after the first year they get a rebate on certain taxes they paid. Then they can get back UP TO 49.5k over years 2-10. If I read it correctly, it's capped at 5.5k for each of those years. There is one statement that says 5.5k per year or 50k whichever comes first. I'm not exactly sure how that compares to a later statement that says "not more than $5,500".

Let me be the first to bring it up. Say you read it here first: Does a "Beer Garden" fit with the character of the city? I have eaten at Capital Ale House in Richmond and very much enjoy the atmosphere. In their letter, they detail expansions they have made to the original establishment by creating a music hall and beer garden, meaning an outdoor seating area. I'm certain that in the next weeks you'll see an editorial in the FLS railing on how this isn't the type of business we want in our historic downtown. I would invite these commentors to come to the city council meetings and LISTEN to what is being said by this company and our own development people. And don't just visit on the hot topic nights, visit when the regular items are being discussed so that you can understand the challenges faced by the city. This company is renovating a building and actually contributed to helping the city maintain its downtown area. This is a great thing, and should help attract future small businesses that don't need that big box store space.

Variety, this has been a regular topic of discussions related to the future of the city. Lets not forget that every investment advisor tells you to diversify your portfolio. Thanks to the econimic engine of this city for exploring all types of businesses. Sure, some of us are going to dislike a few, but others are going to embrace them. When I go out, I like to have a choice of places to go, and I only see this getting better in the coming years.

So before anyone points out these 2 words in the Ale House letter, let's think about what this really means - adding to the vitality of a downtown area. I can only hope that Ale House of Fredericksburg is already thinking about future upgrades and expansion and that maybe we'll get a Music Hall and Biergärten (it sounds more authentic spelled that way doesn't it).

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