Legend Brewing Company is applying to rezone its Manchester property, but says such a move is not imminent

Legend Brewery cropped to scale

Legend has been located in the heart of Manchester for almost 30 years. (Photo by Mike Platania)

Although it has no plans to leave its Manchester home, the city’s oldest brewery is looking to rebrand its estate as it looks to the future.

Legend Brewing Co. is seeking… to rezoning its property at 321 W. Seventh St., an effort that its vice president of operations, Dave Gott, said is preemptive and does not portend a future sale, relocation or closure of the brewery.

With potential Rezoning at the neighborhood level When coming to Manchester in the future, Gott said they wanted to get ahead of that and have some choice and control over what could ultimately be done on their site.

“We have no intention of going anywhere. We’re going to stay here as long as we can,” Gott said. “Our idea is to have a little bit of control over what can be developed on this site, if there is any further development on it.”

The city last year began advocating for the expansion of transit-oriented nodal zones to the South Side, including Hull Street and Midlothian Turnpike. TOD zoning was introduced in recent years to encourage high-density, mixed-use projects near public transportation routes.

The push on TOD to go south is happening while GRTC explores adding a bus rapid transit line similar to Pulse to the Southside. Earlier this month, the GRTC board approved the north-south pulse line and is now moving to further study the project.

Legend Dave Gott

Dave Gott

Legend, at 29, is the city’s oldest brewery and purchased its 1.3-acre site in 2011 for $1.2 million. This year the city was valued at $3.9 million.

The brewery is seeking to have its property rezoned to the B-4 Central Business District, which allows a mix of uses and has no height restrictions. Legend’s land is currently zoned B-7, which limits building height to five stories.

New residential and multifamily developments have popped up on almost every aspect of the brewery in recent years. Town homes are on the rise To the west of it is new Mid-rise residential buildingEddy on the James, was recently completed to the south, and is the same developer behind this building Planning for another six-story building Right behind the legend.

The most important project nearby is a pair of 16-storey residential towers A rise in front of Legend along the river was recently approved. The project is behind New York-based Avery Hall Investments, which would add 550 apartments to the neighborhood.

Gott said that although the influx of development has been devastating, they are also happy to have more people living in the neighborhood.

“Twenty-eight years ago, you wouldn’t see people walking up and down the street,” Gott said. “Now, there are people everywhere, with their dogs and everything. It’s nice to see it turn into a neighborhood.”

Legend enlisted Mark Baker of Baker Development Resources to assist with the rezoning application. In Legend’s application, Baker notes that under the city’s master plan, the Legend property is proposed for “high-density, transit-oriented development,” and that “future development is urban in form and may be on a larger scale than current context.”

legend bar 1

Legend’s facility is at 321 W. Seventh St. In Manchester. (Business file)

Gott said Legend has been approached by people interested in her property over the years, but he said they never took any serious interest. Likewise, he said Legend is unlikely to seek to be a tenant in any new mixed-use development in the area.

“It’s been suggested many times, but the truth is we don’t want to rent from anyone, and we don’t want to be landlords,” he said. “I think this type of ban completely prevents that in the long run.”

In addition to being the oldest domestic brewery, Legend also has one of the largest distribution footprints of any of its peers, covering the entire state of Virginia. One of the first beers it brewed in 1994, Legend Brown Ale, remains one of its flagship brews.

Gott said they hope this continues for years to come.

“We’re still on the young side of old,” he said with a laugh. “We would like to keep doing what we are doing, and we enjoy serving the community.”

Meanwhile, the Avery Hall project remains on schedule, according to a company spokesperson, and is expected to break ground next year.

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