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Brewery planned for former cigar warehouse in Greenville’s West End

Krys Merryman //October 7, 2022//

Brewery planned for former cigar warehouse in Greenville’s West End

Krys Merryman //October 7, 2022//

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The city of Greenville Design Review Board approved plans for an Atlanta-based brewery to move into the West End. 

City officials count on businesses such as New Realm Brewery to be good not just for the owners but also for operators of nearby businesses. (Photo/Provided by city of Greenville)New Realm Brewing Co. will take over the Old Cigar Warehouse on S. Main Street along with an outdoor dining pavilion and covered event area. New construction will take place on the empty lot at the intersection of S. Main and Wardlaw streets and will include minor exterior and full interior renovations of the Old Cigar Warehouse to create a brewery/restaurant and beer garden, according to the city. 

The plan preserves the historic character of the existing Old Cigar Warehouse, including a mural visible from S. Main Street. However, the board's approval, by a 4-0 vote, came with conditions.  

Architects for the project, Greenville-based McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture will be required to make additional adjustments to their plans, including the location of a fireplace, fire pit and the selection of various building materials. The project will move forward as the details are resolved, the city said, but they have received the Certificate of Appropriateness to move forward with building permits. 

SC Biz News attempted to reach New Realm Brewing Co. several times via email but the company has not responded to questions regarding the project. 

The city has been focused on activating the downtown area, said Shannon Lavrin, Greenville assistant city manager.  

“This brewery will help contribute to that activation,” she said. “Activated spaces allow for a more vibrant community, which leads to a healthier community, economically, and that’s why we believe it’s a good fit for our downtown. It’ll activate that space and help surrounding businesses in turn.” 

Lavrin said the brewery fits in with the other adaptive reuse spaces around Greenville, because they aren’t trying to do a “scrape and replace” — in other words, tearing everything down to start over. New Realm Brewing has four other distinct locations in Charleston, Atlanta, Savannah and Virginia Beach, Va., which are all unique to their respective communities. 

“If you look around, one thing Greenville has done well is reusing existing buildings instead of just doing scrapes and replaces, especially in the downtown area,” Lavrin said. Anything that is within the downtown central business districts must be approved by the Design Review Board. “The Design Review Board is making sure we keep as much of our history in as many of our buildings as possible.”  

With the cost of construction higher and supply chain issues slowing delivery of material, the city continues to see an increase in the adaptive reuse concept within the entire city, not just downtown, such as on Laurens Road.  

“We all want to live somewhere that has its own identity,” said Lavrin. “Adaptive reuse is a huge contributor to that.”  

Adaptive reuse is one of the ways Greenville can grow as fast as it is, because Greenville has a small city footprint, she said, and it's hard to expand its city limits. 

New Realm, serving as its own developer on the project, wanted to be in an area with a lot of foot traffic, Lavrin said. 

“They are excited to be here, and they chose to be here, which speaks a lot about why people are attracted to our city, because we have a great quality of life here,” she added. “We have a special and unique city, which attracts a lot of businesses here.” 

The city also recently revealed a rendering of a renovation planned for the historic Army and Navy Store on S.  Main Street. However, the city cannot provide further information on the project at this time. The Certificate of Appropriateness for this project was approved in December, but no building permits have been filed. 

The building was constructed in 1877, and until 1991 it was on the National Register of Historic Places. The store occupied the space for more than 70 years until moving to Laurens Road in 2021. 

Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack on Laurens Road is also an example of adaptive reuse, but the best example, Lavrin said, is The Commons on Wellborn Steet, which used to be an old warehouse.  

“Each building tells a story of how the city has developed over time and how we got here as a community,” Lavrin said. 

Wyche Pavilion along the Reedy River downtown also holds a bit of history.  

It used to be a historic paint factory, but now it has turned into a rustic wedding venue and a staple spot for photos. The Pavilion was named in honor of Greenville philanthropic leader Tommy Wyche and was included in the Peace Center’s purchase when they bought the property more than 30 years ago, and when it opened in 1990, it helped bring new life to the city’s downtown after the collapse of the textile industry. This revitalization contributed to what is now Falls Park. 

The city also has seen the refurbishment of old cotton mills into industrial-style loft apartment homes. The Lofts at Woodside Mill, for example, was mill dating to the early 1900s. Woodside Mill has been restored and adapted into loft-style apartment homes with modern updates. The project’s construction was completed late last year. 

“People have really started to appreciate the uniqueness of the different reuses,” Lavrin said. “Adaptive reuse allows the individuality of Greenville to shine.”