Urban Chestnut Brewing Company Details Plans for The Grove

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Just last week nextSTL was the first to report that Urban Chestnut Brewing Company is moving into The Grove with a footprint eight times larger than their first location opened just two years ago. Now we have significantly more detail regarding UCBC plans for the challenging Renard Paper Company building on Manchester Avenue between Taylor and Newstead.

The oldest portion of the building was constructed in 1947 (Manchester/Taylor corner), with significant additions in 1986 and 1990. The more recent additions present a flat cinder block wall to the street. The plan by Trivers Associates shows a more open entrance at Taylor and four large windows restored on the south facade. The most significant structural change to the building will be a small outdoor area facing Manchester at the building's midpoint. Roughly the easternmost 40% of the facade will remain intact, but be painted with a bright UCBC mural.

UCBC site plan

Significant parking will be added, bringing the total spaces to 100. The eastern lot, currently striped for just 18 spaces and with a large grass lot at Newstead and Manchester, will be expanded and striped for 61 spaces. Eleven spots can be found just off Taylor and 15 street spaces are to be found on Manchester. An additional 13 spaces are planned for a current vacant lot to the north of the building and facing Oakland Avenue. The lot would be set back from Oakland and fronted by a community garden.

The project may be most closely compared with the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood, although there are several differences. Brewing occupies just more than 23,000 square feet at that facility and the full-service restaurant another 7,000 square feet. The new UCBC will dedicate significantly more space to brewing. The UCBC retail space will be smaller, focused on the tasting room experience and prusumably offering similar food samplers as their existing location.

Construction is set to begin June 1 with a completion date of this December. The purchase and renovation plans total almost $5M and another $5M of brewing and bottling equipment could be added to the facility. The Park Central Development Corporation and Forest Park Southeast Development Committee support a 10-year tax abatement and conditional use permits for a liquor license and any sign variances needed.

UCBC detail

{a re-imagined Renard as Urban Chestnut – image by Trivers Associates}

*renderings and site plans by Trivers Associates

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  • Laura

    Who is the general contractor on this project?

    • CWEnder was taken

      Yeah, I’m curious as well? Who’s the GC?

      • guest

        HDB Construction

  • Paul Hohmann

    The changes to the west half of the block look great and will really activate that area. I can’t say I’m thrilled about the 200 foot long painted billboard, even if it is for a great brewery. This would be a great place to do liner retail spaces, which would only be about 20 feet deep, leaving the remaining 100 feet for warehouse space. This is essentially what you have in the loop where the Tivoli theater wraps around the back of small retail spaces at the ground floor.

    Does this stretch of Manchester have restrictions for new uses (such as forbidding warehouse or other blank wall uses) fronting the street?

    Then there is the big empty grass area at the Newstead corner. It would be great of that was sold off for new infill, or at least shown as planned for future construction. It would also be nice to sell off the portion of property in the middle of the Oakland block for new infill there as well.

    Don’t get me wrong, overall I think having Urban Chestnut there is going to be great, but the existing massive building and open spaces which were just fine when the area was industrial, are now a blight on Manchester, Newstead & Oakland.

    This is an opportunity for real transformation of an entire block, not just for a bigger brewery and a tasting room.

    • Storefronts facing Manchester would be nice, but the warehouse component sits on a MASSIVE concrete base. Unfortunately, creating openings at street level is essentially impossible without an insane amount of work. Hence the need to dress the facade up with a graphics.

      The windows that you see in the renderings are placed as low as possible, and that floor level carries to the eastern edge of the building, where it eventually ends up at dock height. The doors at the sidewalk in the middle and eastern portions of the building sit an entire flight of stairs below the finished floor elevation. It’s a crazy setup that might have made sense at one point. Now it’s just unfortunate determent to street life, but this design will certainly help the situation.

      Of course, there are creative ways around this constraint.

      • Eric

        It would be sick of the wall were covered with windows that allowed people to see the inner-workings of the brewery!

        This, along with various other developments on the end of the Grove, will help to bring a lot of life to this area. As of now, a lot of the life in the Grove is at the other end of the strip. The whole corridor is coming together, piece by piece. Best of all, the growth is organic. It’s local. It’s not just a bunch of national chains smacking an ugly strip mall down and demolishing a bunch of historic buildings. It’s St. Louis.

        • And then you hit Chouteau and the barren fields of SLU south start to ruin the scene…

  • karl

    Here’s the important question…what becomes of their current biergarten?!?

  • T-Leb

    It sure seems like A LOT of space for such a small/new brewery. I wonder how much actual UCBC beer will be brewed here.

    • chaifetz10

      Think about the room to grow though…plus expanded space for a bar and tours/info. UCBC is trying to think long term, not just a few months down the line.

      • Justin Striebel

        Exactly. Schlafly has outgrown it’s space. It also has 20 years on UCBC, but everything we know about UCBC so far suggests it could be St. Louis’ next Schlafly.

        If they can afford to invest in this space now, I think there’s plenty of reason to believe it will pay off for them before too long.