Vote to use closed church as a brewery in Lakewood postponed

LAKEWOOD, Ohio - The Lakewood Planning Commission postponed a vote to repurpose a closed church into a brewery and restaurant.

The vote to decide whether to allow the Birdtown Brewery and Restaurant will have to wait to at least the commission’s next meeting in early June.

Developers who run, P. J McIntyre’s, Barrio and the Treehouse in Cleveland and Lakewood, plan to put nearly $2 million to transform the former Saint Gregory Byzantine Church on Quail Avenue in the Birdtown section of eastern Lakewood.

Residents addressed their concerns at Thursday night’s meeting.

Among those concerns are, the area has parking congestion even before any development takes place. Also raised was the brewery’s proximity to an elementary school and other churches.

The property has some parking, residents have doubts patrons will want to walk very far if the lot is full, leaving residents without street parking.

“Reach out to them, listen to their concerns and fix it for them. There's got to be a trust and a relationship that's built there over time,” said Jake Hawley. “So that's what we're willing to do, that's what we've done in Tremont."

Hawley along with Sean Fairbairn, Tom Leneghan, the men behind the plan, presented a letter to the commission from the closed church’s bishop giving his blessing to the repurposing of the church.

The brewery would be the area’s smallest according to their plan and would not expand. It would have a 3.5 barrel capacity and only brew once or twice a week.

They plan to put some of the brewing equipment behind glass on the former altar.

Dru Siley, Director of Planning and Development for the City of Lakewood, told the commission many of the concerns residents voiced are already covered in the mixed-use zoning restrictions already in place.

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