Development

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery wins approval for expansion

File photo – A customer samples the beer selection at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.
File photo – A customer samples the beer selection at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

One of Charlotte’s most prominent breweries is about to get bigger: Olde Mecklenburg Brewery won permission to expand its South End brewing facilities Monday night.

Charlotte City Council voted unanimously to approve the rezoning required for a new building and an expanded outdoor biergarten. The expansion includes a new, 13,400 square-foot building along South Tryon Street, currently the rear of the property, that could be used for more brewing space or offices. The outdoor dining and gathering space, which is also used for yoga, music and other events, could be expanded to 52,200 square feet.

The existing buildings on the site are expected to remain. Charlotte attorney Jeff Brown, who is representing Olde Meck, said a new building could be “more of a signature building,” with brewing tanks visible through glass along South Tryon. As it’s laid out now, the brewery is largely screened from busy South Tryon and more difficult to see from that side.

Brown said the exact plans for the expansion haven’t been finalized yet, and the owners haven’t settled on what exactly they’ll do. But he said the brewery plans to improve sidewalks around it, which are often narrow and peter out. The lacking accommodations for pedestrians date to the time – not that long ago – when the area was a manufacturing and light industrial center, not an entertainment district drawing hundreds or thousands of people a night.

“It’s a classic example of an evolutionary situation, and the opportunity to provide for some enhancement of the sidewalk is important,” said Brown, at a hearing on the expansion in July. He said Olde Meck also intends to save as many trees as possible on the site.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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