A former ice house in downtown Mobile will remain the home of a planned downtown microbrewery, a social media announcement indicated Saturday.
A Facebook post for Haint Blue Brewing announced that “long-standing zoning troubles” were behind the company and that construction work is expected to begin in early December.
“In a strategic move, and in search of a potential contingency … we viewed/entertained multiple locations throughout the Mobile area and advertised our property as ‘available,'” the announcement reads. “What we found is this: The ice house remains to be the best real estate in town for our venture.”
Haint Blue has been through a legal odyssey of late, after receiving a variance in late 2016 from Mobile’s Board of Zoning Adjustments so the brewery could operate at the Crystal Ice building. The building at 806 Monroe St. is located north of Canal Street, which is a short distance east of Broad Street, and next to the historic Church Street Graveyard. It’s located amid the residences of the Church Street East neighborhood.
The project had been at a standstill while attorney Alec J. Brown filed a legal challenge on behalf of his parents, Jack D. Brown and Charlotte W. Brown of Eclectic, Ala. They own an adjacent residential property, which Alec Brown resides.
The legal matters prompted brewery owner Keith Sherrill, a few weeks ago, to consider scraping the brewery’s plans inside the downtown ice house, and consider another location.
Circuit Court Judge Ben Brooks issued a ruling generally favorable to Haint Blue in early October, following an August bench hearing. Brooks’ ruling granted the variance, but imposed a number of compromise conditions on the brewery.
The judge’s conditions, among other things, included specific locations for live music to minimize noise heard by nearby residential properties; limits on live music to twice a week plus specific special events including Mardi Gras parade days; occupancy restrictions to 100 people; buffer trees and privacy fencing; among other things.
Sherill said late last month that the conditions would have added $30,000 to $40,000 in startup costs. He said he planned to sell the Crystal Ice building, and had signed a potential lease at another site. The location of the alternative site was never disclosed.