The suds might finally start flowing in Mobile for business owner John Serda. Following “ordeal after ordeal,” his plan to bring a brewery and cafe to downtown might finally be coming to fruition.
Monday afternoon, the Board of Zoning Adjustment approved a variance to allow Serda, the owner of Serda’s Coffee Company on Royal Street, to convert a long vacant tire shop at 600 Government St. into a brewpub and eatery. The cafe designation means Serda would have to limit its occupation to fewer than 100.
The plan calls for the 13,000-square-foot building bounded by Conti and Warren streets to be renovated and converted mostly into manufacturing space for beer, but also include a small kitchen with indoor and courtyard seating for patrons.
Still, the application was met with a few complaints. For one, the Alabama Department of Transportation had issues with the amount of access future customers would have to Government Street, which is a state highway, because of 10 parking spaces in the front of the former Goodyear building. Jerry Byrd, of Byrd Surveying, said entry and exit to the property could be altered to fall in line with ALDOT, or the city traffic engineering specifications.
Local attorney Ross Holladay, who lives and works in a building next door, had a few other concerns. While he wasn’t necessarily opposed to the plan, Holladay said he had concerns related to traffic, hours of operation, occupancy, lighting, stormwater and the placement of a dumpster. He wanted the board to grant a holdover, so more questions could be answered.
“I don’t see how a courtyard that large, with that many tables, stays under 100,” Holladay said of the occupancy limitation.
He said he also had concerns over the size of the bathrooms and that it would become a problem that “falls on me” when patrons use the bathroom in the corner nearest his building.
Serda said he plans to renovate the bathrooms, along with the rest of the building, and would make each the appropriate size for the number of occupants allowed.
Holladay also questioned the board about lighting for the project, telling them he didn’t want “bright lights shining into my building.”
Serda assured Holladay that there would be just enough lighting to be in compliance with regulations, but no additional lighting directed toward his business or residence.
The area is within the Downtown Development District, which has no lighting requirement, but board attorney Doug Anderson said the board could add conditions to ensure Holladay wasn’t inconvenienced.
Holladay also said he had concerns about the plan calling for the paving of green space for a parking lot and what effect it may have on stormwater. Jerry Byrd, of Byrd Surveying, said the city’s stormwater ordinance would handle any of those concerns.
Serda said the hours of operation for the cafe portion of the business would be 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weeknights and possibly 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The brewery would operate normal business hours, brewmaster Todd Hicks said. Deliveries would be normal as well, he said.
Dearborn Street resident Marie Dyson said she was in favor of the brewery and added while she couldn’t speak for all of her other neighbors in the Church Street East neighborhood, a number of others also approved.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).