Kent, Ohio – Major demolition has begun on a two story building at 257 N. Water Street in Kent that is expected to house the city’s second brewery. The news of a new brewery coming to the location surfaced last fall with a Better Block event in the Mill District when a sign appeared in the window announcing “Opening In 2019: The North Water Brewing Company”.
In a March 2018 article in the Record-Courier, Patrick Madonio, a Brimfield businessman and one of a team of eight partners participating in the renovation project, told writer Bob Gaetjens that the partners had “talked to a couple breweries, a couple restaurants” and added that once the building was in a presentable state, they’d have a little better luck showing and presenting it to prospective lessors. Though The North Water Brewing Company has no presence anywhere on social media, including Facebook or Instagram to confirm that they are in fact the future ground floor tenant, the start of demolition would indicate that the project is very much in motion.
Earlier today NEOCBN drove past the building, which had been in very poor condition, and required demolishing the structurally unsound older portion of the building, which the ownership group has possessed for about three years according to the Record-Courier article. We could see from the road that the back half had been completely torn down, exposing the gutted newer front half of the structure.
The original building is actually the back half, believed to have been built in the 1850s or ’60s. Madiono told the newspaper the building once had something to do with one of the railroads, saying “It was a waiting station or something along those lines.” The “newer” section itself probably dates to the 1920s and needs considerable facade work.
The major renovation of the property is expected to be a catalyst for a much larger overhaul of the Mill District, which currently is home to two coffee houses, Bent Tree Coffee Roasters and Scribbles Coffee Company and a handful of art galleries, but little else. It’s also the site of the old Star of the West Mill which itself is for sale.
Kent is also home to MadCap Brewery, but the North Water project would be the first brewery in the downtown area of the college down. MadCap is set about two miles away from the downtown area in an industrial area. The new brewery would also be only the third in Portage County (also home to Garrett’s Mill and Brewing Company in Garrettsville), which lags well behind other area counties like Summit and Stark, but that could be changing. West Main Winery in downtown Ravenna has also applied for an A1C brewers permit.