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Eco​-devo hearing ​on tap for OMB

March 15. By Dave Vieser. The Cornelius Town Board will ​hold a public hearing to consider an economic development grant ​for​ Olde Mecklenburg Brewery​ which has purchased​ ​a ​51,000 square-foot​ manufacturing facility just north of downtown Cornelius.

“The purpose of the hearing would be to receive public comments on proposed economic development incentives to the brewery in relation to their establishment of a new manufacturing facility in Cornelius​,​” said Planning Director Wayne Herron. “The project will consist of a capital investment of approximately $10 million.”

​The building on Zion Avenue is the former home MacLean Curtis, which moved its ​screw ​manufacturing​ operation​ to Mooresville last year.​​ Town officials expect OMB to make extensive improvements to the property, including not just a brewery, but a German-style “brauhaus.”

Herron said the grant under consideration would cover a ​10-​year period and would be equal to 90 ​percent​ of new ad valorem tax revenue created by the development. The town’s ad valorem tax rate is .255, ​but ​total incentives are expected to be less than $2.3 million over 10 years. Those incentives may be offset by expenses OMB will incur in straightening out Zion Avenue. The road, which runs parallel to Main Street, makes sharp left and sharp right turns on its way from the Antiquity mixed-use project to the northern end of Zion.

Still to be determined is the actual size of the new brewery. OMB and other craft breweries are seeking to ​change ​state law​s​ which currently cap the amount of beer a brewery can produce annually before having to retain an outside wholesale distributor. That limit is 25,000 barrels of beer​ right now​.

If the state legislature lifts the cap, OMB plans to spend as much as $7 million on the Cornelius expansion, hiring as many as 100 workers. Without a change in the cap, a smaller brewery is likely to be built.

The meeting will begin at 7 pm at Cornelius Town Hall on Catawba Avenue.