LEWISBURG — Lost Railroad Brewhaus, a proposed brewery and restaurant, has been in talks for the last several months — owners Dick and Adam Ewing even held a community information meeting in Lewisburg on Tuesday, Jan. 15. However, according to Dick Ewing, they are short $400,000 for the project. He presented an alternative plan to Lewisburg Village Council on Thursday, July 18, asking council for its permission to lease one of their properties.
He explained, the idea came from Municipal Manager Jeff Sewert who suggested the Cumberland Street house the village owns. Ewing would like to lease the house so they could renovate it, add to it, and put the brewpub in that location.
“The thought process is that the entrance would be on Route 40, the parking lot would be on the current grassy area, and the exit would be between the property line and the garage going out to main street. The addition would house the kitchen and brewery. We are going to put an outdoor patio in the portion that is south of the fireplace. Anyways, we’ve been doing a lot of work with that and scratching our heads,” Ewing said.
They are also discussing getting the property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to Ohio History Connection, the National Register of Historic Places is the official list of properties recognized by the federal government as worthy of preservation for their local, state, or national significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, or culture. A program of the National Park Service, it is administered at the state level by each respective state. In Ohio, the State Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio History Connection administers the National Register Program.
“When the house is placed on the Registry of Historic Homes, then renovations, modernizations, so forth and so on, creates large amounts of federal and state tax credits. In other words, the IRS would give us 20 percent tax credits and the state would give us 25 percent tax credits,” Ewing said.
He added, in order to be on the registry, the property would have to have a 49-year lease from the village to Ewing, with escape clauses. According to Ewing, those are rules of the IRS.
Village Solicitor Richard Faber asked if Ewing would be interested in buying the property, instead of leasing it, claiming the village “would be better off with a sale.”
Ewing responded, “It would be better for me to lease it for three years and then buy it.”
If the council gives approval, the next step would be the drafting of the lease. Officials are also in the beginning of the process to get the property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to Ohio History Connect, in Ohio, anyone may fill out the forms to nominate a property to the National Register. Once a nomination is complete, the property owners, appropriate local officials, and other interested parties are given an opportunity to comment on the proposed listing.
Following the notification period, the nomination is scheduled for review by the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board. The board is a 17-member panel appointed by the governor to advise the State Historic Preservation Officer. The board reviews the nomination to determine whether it meets the criteria for listing in the National Register. If the board decides that the property is eligible for listing, the nomination is given the board’s approval.
The nomination is reviewed a final time and signed by the State Historic Preservation Officer. The final step in the process is review by the National Park Service. If the National Register of Historic Places staff approves the nomination, the property is officially placed in the National Register by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places.
As soon as the property becomes eligible for the National Register, the tax credits open up. Ewing can then apply for the federal and state tax credit.
According to Ewing, if anyone is interested in becoming a part owners of Lost Railroad Brewhaus the tax credits would be applied onto those investors as well.
Sewert asked for a blessing from council to move the project to the “next steps.” He didn’t ask for an official vote, but wanted confirmation members were in favor of the project and would be interested in moving forward.
Council was in unanimous support.
During the meeting on Thursday, Aug. 1, Sewert gave an update for the project. He shared, they are scheduled to be in front of the State Historic Preservation Board the week of Aug. 12. He promised to email council and inform them of the board’s decision after that meeting.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH