A long-vacant industrial site in Southeast Minneapolis is a serious contender for the $20 million destination brewery that
Surly Brewing Co.
Surly, which is based in Brooklyn Center, is doing its due diligence on the “Malcolm Midway site,” as it's called, near Highway 280 and University Avenue.
The site makes sense for the brewery because it’s centrally located between Minneapolis and St. Paul, and it’s close to biking and walking trails and public transportation, including the coming Central Corridor
light rail line, a company statement reads.
Also, the site is “zoned and sized well” for the project, and it fits in with the neighborhood’s master plan for redevelopment of the area, the statement adds.
However, the site was once the home of a food processing plant and has had numerous other industrial uses through the years; it requires significant environmental cleanup.
Surly has applied for grants to cover this cost, a process it expects to wrap up in January. In the meantime, the company continues to explore other possibilities as well. “This is a 100-year decision so we are being mindful, patient, and thorough with our search,” the statement reads.
The brewery has been well-received by many stakeholders because “it will result in jobs, it will help refresh the area, and it will be a community gathering point for generations to come,” it states.
Dick Gilyard, who is active with the Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association (PPERIA), says that the neighborhood group has endorsed the preliminary plan.
Many community members want to see a rich mix of uses in the neighborhood, which includes the industrial lot that Surly is looking at. The idea is that the arts, science, housing, an historic district, and more, could come together to “make the entire area a destination,” he says, adding that Malcolm Avenue is a gateway to the area.
PPERIA has been proactive about its vision for the area, including the positioning of the Central Corridor light rail station, something that has implications for the brewery as well. Ultimately, that vision is “based on respect for the existing historical neighborhoods,” close to University Avenue, he says.
“Our big thing is that sites need to be planned collectively,” he says, adding, “So it’s mutually reinforcing.”
If Surly does come to the area, it could demonstrate “what transit-oriented development can be like, with high-density attractions and uses and workplaces and living spaces [near] the line,” he says. “We’re very optimistic about this evolving in a way we’re all pleased with.”
Source: Dick Gilyard, PPERIA
Writer: Anna Pratt