The city’s Plan Commission unanimously approved a conversion of an auto repair shop to a new restaurant-brewpub, laying the groundwork for expanded opportunity for the Regent Street neighborhood.
The Regent Street Brewpub, pegged for the 1300 block of Regent Street, will have a 58-person outdoor seating area, though the city’s current zoning code will not allow for alcohol in the outdoor dining area on football Saturdays.
The restaurant also includes a reception hall for special events during football Saturdays, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association high school football tournament and the Crazylegs Classic race. The reception hall will also host private events.
“One of the keys to this project from our perspective is the banquet room,” said Rod Ripley, managing partner of FCS Plan B, which owns the property. “Having that larger capacity on football Saturdays gives us the opportunity to make direct revenue on key, important dates.”
Though the establishment will reduce parking to 19 spaces, Ripley said he is not concerned about a lack of parking.
“Most people who come during those high capacity events are coming regardless if our building is there or not,” Ripley said.
Though some residents in the area have expressed concern about having another alcohol-serving establishment in the neighborhood, Ald. Sara Eskrich, District 13, said her constituents are on board with the plan.
“We’ve gotten to a place where the use is appropriate to the neighborhood,” she said. “We just didn’t want it to become a huge entertainment venue for every Friday and Saturday night.”
Ripley told the Plan Commission he plans to expand once the lease of a billboard atop the restaurant expires in a few years, with intent to add apartments.
“The potential for apartments on that site, particularly building up to create more student housing is exciting to me and hopefully exciting for students as well,” Eskrich said.
Construction is set to begin in mid-November and last until October 2016.