CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Before her new brewery even opens, Charleston Brewing Co. owner Ann Saville already has plans for expansion.
Capitol Roasters on Quarrier Street will soon close and the brewpub will be expanded into the space currently occupied by the coffee shop and restaurant, members of the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority's board learned at a meeting Wednesday.
The expansion will take place early next month, Saville said.
The two parties discussed the takeover during the meeting. The authority owns the building and board members gave their approval to transfer the lease, said Jim Edwards, executive director of the authority.
The as-yet unopened microbrewery, which currently sits in about 3,300 square feet of space next to Capitol Roasters, will almost double in size. The coffee shop occupies 2,900 square feet, Edwards said.
The new space will be used for restaurant-style seating, Saville said.
"We'll also use that space for people that are waiting on a seat," she said.
Workers will cut through the wall separating the two spaces to make one large area, Saville said. The cut will be made through the wall where the fireplace in Capitol Roasters is now located, she said.
Saville doesn't expect the work to delay the brewery's opening, which is planned for April 8.
Edwards wasn't sure what the last day of business would be for Capitol Roasters. Calls to the coffee shop's owners were not returned.
Board members also discussed re-establishing the authority's jurisdiction in the downtown area. It's jurisdiction there expired in 2008, meaning it can no longer offer incentives to businesses like grants for facade improvements.
Board member Rusty Webb would like to change this so the authority can again offer its resources to businesses wanting to improve the downtown district, he said.
"We need to resume our jurisdiction of the downtown and offer grants that are more substantial than the $5,000 facade grants we have now," Webb said.
The authority currently provides most of the revenue for the East End and West Side main streets' facade programs, Edwards said.
The two main street organizations offer $5,000 to business owners willing to invest another $5,000 of their own money to improve facades.
"But, $5,000 doesn't buy much today," Webb said.
He and Edwards agreed it would be beneficial to offer the grant program to downtown businesses.
"I think offering that incentive could be very beneficial to businesses in downtown," Edwards said. "As of now, those resources aren't available for the district where CURA's offices are located."
Edwards also sees the program moving a little further, and he hopes the agency can establish a downtown business association.
The association would be made up of downtown business owners who are interested in improving the district, he said. This type of organization could provide marketing for the district, which is currently something the authority does not do, Edwards said.
"CURA deals more with blight removal and we don't really offer the softer services like marketing," he said.
The association would be funded from dues paid by member businesses, Edwards added.
"This is something that cities around the country, and around the world, are already doing," he said.
Webb also brought up the vacant Holley Hotel site on Quarrier Street near the Quarrier Diner. He said the authority needs to offer some sort of creative financing or lease agreement to a developer to get the property developed.
The property has been vacant for 21 years, and city leaders, along with authority members, have been working to get it developed. The authority owns the lot.
Webb believes the agency should offer generous terms, such as a $1-a-year lease, to any developer willing to make a significant investment. The rent could then be increased after the lease expires and the developer begins to generate a profit, Webb said.
"Our plan has been to offer that lot for fair market value and no developer has stepped up in 21 years," he said. "We have to get creative with this."
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones agreed, saying the lot has been vacant for over two decades and that some sort of creative solution needs to be offered to get it developed.
"If someone wants to lease that property and build something significant on it, I'd say we give it to them free for 10 years," Jones said.
City Manager David Molgaard has drafted a plan to build apartments on the lot with funding provided by rent payments from the tenants.
Under this plan, companies employing the tenants would also pay a subsidy for their employee, thus keeping the rent affordable.
Although Jones believes this plan would work, he would be willing to forgo this solution if a developer stepped, he said.
Webb proposed a similar idea for a vacant authority-owned lot on Washington Street East.
The plot is the former location of a Burger King. Webb said this type of creative financing could help accomplish the goal of attracting a grocery store to the East End.
"We need to think outside of the box," Webb said.