The Middleburg Town Council unanimously approved the sale of its health center building to the owners of the Ashburn-based Old Ox Brewery at its regular monthly meeting Thursday night.
The council voted to sell the building on South Madison Street for $750,000 to a family-owned business that plans to open an indoor beer pub on the ground floor and a beer garden outside in its courtyard. The target opening date is April 1, 2019.
Jamie Gaucher, Middleburg’s director of business and economic development, said he’s been in discussions with Old Ox over the last 10 months to open a new facility in the town.
Under terms of the sale, all of the current tenants of the building will be allowed to remain in their spaces, including a doctor’s office, a Pilates studio and a counseling center.
“I think it’s going to be fantastic,” Gaucher said. “It’s going to fill a niche that we don’t have. The idea is to have boutique brew pub. They’ll also install brewing equipment in a garage behind the property and occupy the ground floor and the courtyard out front. They’ll be making beer here and also serving beer from their main brewery in Ashburn. It’s a great fit.”
Chris Burns, president of Old Ox, and his parents and co-owners, Graham and Mary Ann Burns, attended the council meeting. Chris Burns spoke briefly about the plans for the building, described the Ashburn facility as a “community gathering place” and said the Middleburg operation will offer more of the same.
“We’re very excited, just over the moon about this,” Chris Burns said.
Thursday’s council meeting also included a public hearing to allow residents to weigh in on the sale. But when Mayor Bridge Littleton opened the floor for comment, no one in the audience chose to speak, pro or con. A motion to approve the sale of a building, which dates back to 1939, was made, seconded and quickly approved.
The brew pub is not a restaurant and will only sell varieties of Old Ox beer. There will be some food choices, mainly light snacks like chips and salsa, cheese plates and charcuterie. Chris Burns said he and his staff are looking into the possibility of food trucks serving the pub, as they do in Ashburn.
Construction will begin almost immediately on phase 1 of the project, which is expected to take between 12 to 14 weeks. That will include renovations to a tasting room with a seating capacity of about 60 and a brick patio beer garden in the courtyard that will seat about 40. A private event space and a game room for darts and shuffleboard are also planned.
Phase 2 will include turning a now vacant five-bay garage behind the building into a small scale production area that is expected to produce 200 barrels, or about 6,200 gallons of beer per year. Chris Burns estimated an additional $600,000 in expenses to renovate the building and set up the brewery.
Gaucher, who once ran a brewery in Chantilly, said Old Ox makes perfect sense for Middleburg by adding a unique establishment that should attract locals and out-of-town visitors to the village.
“When I look at the Loudoun ale trail, there’s a real hole in the south central part of the county,” he said. “We have wine here, we have cider, but we don’t have beer. It definitely fills a void. April 1 is the goal. I’d really like to have a beer there on St. Patrick’s Day.”
Reach Len Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.