Wynn Everett announced further plans this week to demolish the Charlton Street Small Business center at the end of this summer to make way for an access road and a horticultural warehouse, but at least one small brewery in the complex, Idle Hands, is wishing they had more time to leave.
Wynn Everett spokesman Michael Weaver said Wynn Everett would likely build a road on the site and, in the future, a building partially for back of the house storage and partially for its horticultural endeavors.
“We need that area potentially for the road and we will eventually build – though not only in that location – a storage facility which will partially house our horticultural area,” he said. “We have a large horticultural operation that needs space close by, but off site. The main use there is for the road access, but we’ll also use part of that space and other spaces for storage and horticulture…We’ll be demolishing the building some time in early fall or late summer; so, very soon. We want to be able to do site prep work for our entire site.
The Charlton Street Small Business Center is a series of warehouse style buildings that are in questionable condition. The center housed several varieties of businesses and, according to property records, was owned since 2008 by a company headed by Gerald Berberian of Charlestown.
Weaver said Wynn acquired the property in February for an undisclosed sum, and found that some of the businesses in the decrepit industrial building did not have leases.
Many did not even know the property was in consideration for sale, and didn’t have great communication with the landlord.
“Our communication with them in February was the first notification they had that the property had sold,” said Weaver. “Because they were small businesses and to make it easier for them to relocate, we decided some might need some help in relocation.”
Wynn offered businesses in the Center $10,000 if they left by the end of April. A second offer of $5,000 was made for those leaving by the end of May.
As of now, there are four businesses left, including Idle Hands Brewery, with two having been served eviction notices.
Idle Hands is one of them, and founder Chris Tkach said they will take a substantial loss due to the fact that they didn’t have enough time to relocate and build out the complicated works of a scaled brewery.
“We were just really looking for more time than four months so we could continue brewing on Charlton Street while we built out another facility and made a smooth transition rather than taking a major revenue hit and brewing elsewhere,” he said. “I do have employees to pay…We’ve been growing by 100 percent every single year, but now we will take a step back, but it is what it is…Our business has been self-financed from day one. I built this with my life savings, so that’s what’s at risk.”
Idle Hands will not fold, however.
The popular brewery with a large Everett following will use excess space at the other Everett brewery, Night Shift Brewery. Tkach said Night Shift had been very kind to him and allowed him to use its facilities until he can secure and build out a new facility. He said Idle Hands would be at about 50 percent capacity until they find a home, and would only be brewing for draught, no bottles.
He said he chose not to take the financial assistance because it wasn’t worth it.
“Certainly there was a need for us to relocate, but I thought we had more time than what transpired,” he said. “We have been looking to relocate for some time…People may not realize how difficult it is to move a brewery…You don’t even need to do the math; $10,000 wasn’t worth it and I couldn’t even consider $5,000. We decided to stay put and continue brewing here.”
There is a silver lining, Tkach said, in that they will now make the long-awaited move and be out from under the confines of a small and decrepit old building.
“We are looking at a place and it’s promising, but until the ink is dry, you don’t know what will happen,” he said. “The space we are trying to get is an ideal location. Once we get in there, it will be a major, major upgrade. That’s the one silver lining is I’m looking forward to having a really nice place. The little things that were annoying to our visitors about the building were really painful to us.”
Weaver said the other business being evicted is Radical Radiator. A noodle company in the building has secured a new location and will be leaving soon, and a transportation company – Avalon – actually had a lease with the former owner and is negotiating the termination of that lease with Wynn right now.