GOSHEN — It appears costs may be significantly higher than originally anticipated for the planned conversion of the former Northern Indiana Public Service Co. building on Washington Street into a new brewery and restaurant.
Central to the issue is a lease agreement approved by the Goshen Redevelopment Commission back in September 2013 with Goshen Brewing Company founder Jesse Sensenig. Through that agreement, Sensenig said his plan is to develop the old NIPSCO building at 315 W. Washington St. into a new brewery and restaurant.
In addition to making monthly lease payments on the building, Sensenig has also committed to investing a minimum $200,000 into repairing and rehabilitating the old NIPSCO building. That work, he said, will include repairing the outer brick and/or painting the building; installing new heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems and electrical wiring; replacing/repairing the plumbing; building a kitchen; and installing a new subfloor on the main level.
Due to the significant amount of work Sensenig plans on doing to the old building, the agreement also included an option allowing Sensenig up to five years to purchase the building at a cost of $95,000, but only after the minimum $200,000 has been invested and the required work completed.
However, during a meeting of the commission Tuesday, Sensenig informed the commission that the cost to rehabilitate the old NIPSCO building could be at least double what he had originally anticipated, leading him to request an amendment to the original agreement which would extend his option to purchase by an additional two years.
“The situation is that Jesse is out now getting estimates for the improvements, and it looks like the cost of the project is going to be substantially more than what he had originally estimated,” said Mark Brinson, community development director for the city. “So he has requested additional time in which to exercise the option to purchase.”
According to Sensenig, his most recent estimates for renovating the building fall at right around $400,000.
“And that’s just the building,” Sensenig said. “That’s not including the brewing equipment, the kitchen equipment, any of that.”
Even with the added cost, however, Sensenig said he is still very much committed to sticking with his plans for renovating — and eventually purchasing — the old NIPSCO building. Those plans may just take a little bit longer than originally anticipated, he said.
““The plan is to move forward with this, and I really want to make it happen,” Sensenig said. “I think its got a lot of great potential, but I’ve just got to get there.”
Commission Vice-President Vince Turner was quick to agree.
“I think you’re pretty wise in extending the option, because this is certainly going to affect your initial cash flow,” Turner said. “I’m especially comfortable with it, because it’s $400,000 in improvements. And the building right now, it’s empty. So I don’t think two (more) years is a really high demand. It’s pretty wise, actually.”
The remainder of the commission voiced similar opinions, and the request was approved unanimously to extend the option to purchase by an additional two years.
In other business, the commission:
• Approved a $16,000 contract with Jerry Reed Excavating LLC for the demolition of houses at 209 and 210 W. Jefferson St. connected to the ongoing clean-up of the former Hawks Furniture building along the millrace.
• Approved a contract not to exceed $5,000 for Asbestos Assessment for properties at 311 W. Douglas St., 208 W. Monroe St. and 411 S. Third St. in preparation for their demolition.
• Approved a contract with The Worden Group Inc. to prepare appraisals for 12 properties related to acquiring lands for the planned intersection improvement project at Ind. 15 and Kercher Road. Total cost of the contract is not to exceed $27,475.