Breweries Coming To Springfield, But Are They Legal?

September 6, 2016 20 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Article originally published on Modern Cities by Mike Field.

Main Street has always served as the main conduit for travel between Downtown Jacksonville and Springfield. Two very specific events led to the demise of Main Street as a vibrant commercial center. The first was when a streetcar system connecting the urban core and neighborhoods of Jacksonville with Springfield was ripped out of Main Street. The second and final nail in Main Street’s coffin was when the Jacksonville Expressway system was built. This ended Main Street’s reign as Jacksonville's major north-south thoroughfare, and effectively cut off Springfield from downtown with a series of one-way streets that redirected high-volume traffic around Springfield instead of right through it.

The intersection of 8th and Main Streets in the 1930s. (State Archives of Florida)

What was once walkable from the river to Brentwood has become a corridor of surviving nodes, failed promises, and broken dreams. The restoration of the Main Street corridor remains a critical piece to solving the age old puzzle of bringing ultimate vibrancy back to the streets of the Urban Core.

Now, a handful of entrepreneurs have begun plans to open businesses that could become a catalyst for the revival of Main Street. Many Springfield residents see this as  an opportunity for the kind of revitalization that has occurred along Riverside's King Street commercial district. However, zoning laws threaten to derail these projects before their doors could ever open.  

Third and Main is one of the few anchor institutions along Main Street. Completed in 2009 with a loan from the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Trust Fund, the Cesery Companies developed this 43,000-square-foot, $6 million mixed use building that includes Uptown Kitchen & Bar along with short-term housing  facilities which serve as patient housing for the nearby UF Proton Therapy Center. Image courtesy of

John Crispens is in the process of building out Crispy's at 1735 N. Main St, an Italian-themed restaurant and bar, art gallery and dry cleaning service open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Business owners that open establishments along Main Street need to be creative in drawing sufficient foot traffic in order to keep their doors open, which is why you'll see an establishment offer a dry cleaning dropoff service in conjunction with other uses.

A New Wave of Craft Brewer Entrepreneurs

Main and Six Brewing Company

Proposed location for Main and Six Brewing Company

Son/daughter combo Dennis Espinosa and Cindy Lasky are in the process of purchasing the 3,000 square foot building located at 1636 Main St with plans to open a brewpub called Main and Six Brewing Company. Among the craft brewing industry, brewpubs and microbreweries are two distinct forms of breweries, each with a different focus. Microbreweries typically produce less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year, with 75% of that beer being sold off-site. Locally, Intuition Ale Works and Bold City Brewery are microbreweries. Brewpubs, often combined with a restaurant, typically sells 25% or more of its beer on site. Whereas microbreweries are focused on distribution, brewpubs are typically neighborhood bars/restaurants that sell most of their product over the counter at an on-site taproom.    

The duo is currently in the process of applying for a Planned Unit Development, in order to rezone the property so that a brewpub is legally permissible on site. If the rezoning is successful, they plan to have the business fully operational within 18-20 months.

9th and Main Brewpub

Proposed location for 9th and Main Brewpub

Proposed location for 9th and Main Brewpub

Jacksonville-based Bono's Pit Bar-B-Que, led by Scott Adeeb, has submitted a proposal to the City of Jacksonville to convert the former 9th & Main building into a restaurant, brewpup and theater.  Plans call for a $596,000 total investment to purchase and renovate the building, vacant since 2008 when the City foreclosed on the property in a dispute with the former owner.

The restaurant portion would be run by an ownership group that formally operated a restaurant in the building, and now operate the popular restaurant Harpoon Louie's in Farifax Manor, just outside Avondale. A theater space would be operated local mainstay Five & Dime Theatre Company. Additionally, Adeeb would operate a brewpub on-site. Having a variety of complementary uses housed within the site is thought to be a key component of the redevelopment plans, as foot traffic is not robust along a Main Street with few anchor institutions.  

Hyperion Brewing Company

Proposed location for Hyperion Brewing Company. Courtesy of CoStar

Led by Alexandra McKeown and Troy Orton, Hyperion Brewing Company has chosen to lease 1740/1744 N Main Street from Petra Realty. Plans call for the construction of an on-site production facility that will serve an on-site brewpub. While Hyperion will primarily serve their beer in the brewpub, plans also include a limited distribution of product within the Jacksonville market.

According to co-owner Alexandra McKeown, "Like many breweries in Jacksonville, the mix between the light manufacturing of beer and serving directly to consumers through our taproom requires a special zoning with the City. The property is currently zoned CCG-S (Commercial Springfield) and we would like to change it to a PUD (Planned Unit Development). We will maintain the structure and current facade of the space. The only renovations will be to the interior of the property. Our business is built on freedom of choice, meaning we want to serve you a beer that you'd like to drink while opening your mind and taste buds to new flavors and styles.

Next: Main Street's Big Opportunity

Article originally published on Modern Cities by Mike Field.