Another extension for Lebanon factory to microbrewery plan

A sign for Alexander Recruiting hangs from a security fence around a former shoe factory the family has proposed for a  $12 million redevelopment.
A sign for Alexander Recruiting hangs from a security fence around a former shoe factory the family has proposed for a $12 million redevelopment.

Credit: Lawrence Budd

Credit: Lawrence Budd

By the narrowest of margins, the Lebanon Planning Commission granted another reprieve to a local businessman’s plan to transform an old shoe factory into a $12 million microbrewery complex.

Mayor Amy Brewer was part of the opposition as the commission voted 3-2 to give the company headed by Keith Alexander until April to complete renovations tied to code violations, including the replacement of about 350 windows - installation of which he said would cost $500,000.

“This has been going on for many years now,” Brewer said, expressing doubt an extension would result in resolution during the Oct. 20 meeting. “This has been an eyesore.”

A sign for Alexander Recruiting hangs from a security fence around a former shoe factory the family has proposed for a  $12 million redevelopment.
A sign for Alexander Recruiting hangs from a security fence around a former shoe factory the family has proposed for a $12 million redevelopment.

Credit: Lawrence Budd

Credit: Lawrence Budd

In 2018, Alexander’s son, Nate, estimated the company — one of a handful run by his family — would spend about $2.5 million on the first phase and as much as $12 million over six years renovating the building and adding a microbrewery and event center at 120 South St.

Lebanon's new shoe factory, The Elbinger-Meis Shoe MFG. Co. Photo from the railroad Souvenir book, 1912, The Dayton, Lebanon and Cincinnati Railroad and Terminal Company and Tributary Industries
Lebanon's new shoe factory, The Elbinger-Meis Shoe MFG. Co. Photo from the railroad Souvenir book, 1912, The Dayton, Lebanon and Cincinnati Railroad and Terminal Company and Tributary Industries

Credit: Courtesy of Joni Knopp

Credit: Courtesy of Joni Knopp

In 2019 the city commission approved a certificate giving the Alexanders - also owners of the Rose & Remington retail chain - one year to complete improvements. This was expected to give the Alexanders enough time to complete the first phase, including the window replacement it approved in 2014.

ExploreLebanon sues local businessman over redevelopment building violations
The first phase of a $10 million plan to turn an old shoe factory into a microbrewery and event center is moving ahead in Lebanon.
The first phase of a $10 million plan to turn an old shoe factory into a microbrewery and event center is moving ahead in Lebanon.

In February, the city dropped a lawsuit pressing Alexanders to correct the code violations, some of which have since been fixed. Broken windows have been boarded up and the building secured with a tall fence, but the window replacement has yet to be completed.

Last week, the commission, following the staff recommendation, gave the Alexander company until April 16, 2021, to complete all the improvements “associated with the outstanding code violations” and Oct. 20, 2021, to complete work in the first phase.

In addition to the windows, Alexander is to brick over three windows and two doors and remove a metal exterior stair and landing on the Cherry Street side. Doors on several other sides to be replaced or added, a metal chimney and fire escape replaced.

A sign for a construction company hangs from a security fence around a former shoe factory in Lebanon proposed for a  $12 million redevelopment.
A sign for a construction company hangs from a security fence around a former shoe factory in Lebanon proposed for a $12 million redevelopment.

Credit: Lawrence Budd

Credit: Lawrence Budd

The plan also calls for a building addition for interior stairwells into the building and a rear deck.

Failure to provide an update by March 20, 2021 could result in the certificate’s cancellation.

“No further extension shall be granted,” according to the conditions attached to the certificate of appropriateness extension.

Alexander thanked the commission for the extension and said the project had been slowed by the pandemic and inability to get required permits.

“Working through the pandemic has created a lot of challenges,” Alexander said.

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