Champion Brewing is one step closer to buying Norfolk church

A battle continues to brew over whether investors should convert a historic church into a brewery.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) - A battle continues to brew over whether investors should convert a historic church into a brewery.
  
The church is located in Ghent on Yarmouth Street.

On July 20, The Ghent Neighborhood League held a vote on whether community members wanted the brewery in their neighborhood.

According to an email, sent by the League's President, 133 people voted, which is 63% of the members. 82 people voted in favor of the brewery and 51 people were against it.
         
SABA Property Investor Chris Todd told 13News Now, this is just one process.

Next month Todd will head to the Planning and Zoning meeting, then it's up to Norfolk City Council to approve the plans.
  
"This is a big family area, why do you need one more bar here, said community member Kelly Dimgo.

Some people who live in the area aren't a fan of the idea, while others are excited.

"I live right over at The Hague Towers, and it would be nice to come hangout then walk home," said Neighbor Erik Smith.

The company, Champion Brewing, is out of Charlottesville. They plan to use the Unitarian Church for a new hangout spot.

"I would check it out if they did bring it," explained Smith.

One of the investors, Chris Todd, said he knows many neighbors don't like the plans. He and his team are not attending the Planning and Zoning meeting Thursday night, because they want to talk to neighbors. They pushed the meeting a month ahead.

"We understand their issues and we want to meet and meet in the middle and to mitigate most of their concerns," said Todd.

He hopes one month of talking to neighbors will help them see their envision of the historic church.

"This will be a beautiful asset to the property. We think it will add value to the property values and will be a beautiful staple in downtown Norfolk," said Todd.
   
The church is still being used. The reason the congregation is moving is due to increasing in size. Many church members are all for the church being converted into a brewery.

The Planning and Zoning meeting is scheduled for August 24th.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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