Town Brewery to expand their Whitby waterfront presence with Pump House pop-ups

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Published May 11, 2023 at 4:37 pm

It’s going to be a busy year for Town Brewery in Whitby.

The six year-old brewery quickly became a major player in the Durham brewing sector as well as a prominent member of the Whitby business community since it opened its doors on Charles Street in 2017 and now is looking to expand their waterfront footprint by taking over the historic Pump House for summer pop-up events.

Brewery co-founder and general manager Jeff Talmey was not ready to comment on his plans for the nearly 120 year-old Pump House just yet. Not until all the t’s are crossed and i’s dotted, at least.

Whitby Mayor Elizabeth Roy, who noted the building has sat vacant since 1984, called Council’s decision to award a two-year licensing agreement (with an option for three more) to the brewery as welcome news. “Something new is coming to the Whitby waterfront this summer,” she said on social media.

Councillor Nik Lundquist had concerns the brewery was awarded the pilot project contract without any kind of a tendering process but otherwise was fine with the outcome, saying she was “excited” that Town would be creating a meeting place for residents and calling the project a “wonderful addition” to Whitby’s waterfront.

 

The Pump House

Committee was told Town (the brewery) approached the Town (the municipality) about using the space from May 1 to September 30 (the deal will start June 1 in 2023), with CAO Matt Gaskell saying that staff had not had a lot of other interest in the property.

“We did try and gauge the public’s interest with the desire to animate the waterfront a little more,” Gaskell said. “This was an opportunity to test the concept as a pilot … while reserving the right for others to use the facility.”

Town Brewery will be using the Licence Space as a pop-up operation to sell food, beer and branded merchandise. Hours of Operation, in accordance with local by-laws, will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Rental rates of $2,000 per month have been deliberately set low as the space has been vacant for so many years and to encourage Town to focus on capital investments for the area and promotion of the pop-up.

Town Brewery will initially apply for a Special Occasion Permit and will subsequently investigate what is required to extend its Liquor Sales Licence to cover operations at the Water Street property.

The Pump House was built in 1904 on the lakeshore between Whitby Harbour and Heydenshore Park. A second pump house was built nearby in 1959 and the original structure was taken out of service, with the roof removed and the original brick chimney demolished, when a third pump house was built in 1978.

Early this year the Town completed restoration works that will protect and preserve the building until a permanent future use is determined.

Gaskell noted the deal with the brewery is structured as a ‘license,’ not a lease arrangement.

And speaking of leases, Town Brewery is still negotiating with Whitby for a plot of land at the south-east corner of Garden Street and Burns St. E as a new location for the brewery, which has been at Charles Street, just south of Victoria Street and immediately north of the harbour lands, since its opening.

Developable land at the Garden Street and Burns St. E site

Their current property is slated for eventual development, though the brewery recently renewed their lease for another three years.

The Town owns just over 20 acres of property at the new site, with approximately three acres that could be developable. The plot of land deemed surplus by the Town and made available to the brewery is between one and two acres in size.

Town Brewery reached out to Whitby about the property in late 2021 and after a land appraisal and public comment process – 42 comments were received, with 29 against and ten in favour (three wanted more information) – staff was instructed to negotiate a sale.

The contracts have not yet been signed.

The Pump House, pre 1960

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