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Jax Daily Record Friday, Sep. 25, 202008:40 AM EST

City approves Ruby Beach Brewing Co. Downtown renovation

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The $500,000 project will relocate the brewery from Jacksonville Beach.

By Karen Brune Mathis & Mike Mendenhall  • Staff Writers

The city issued a permit Sept. 24 for Ruby Beach Brewing Co. to renovate space for its Downtown brewery in The Letter Shop Building at 228 E. Forsyth St.

Ideal Conditions Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. is the contractor for the $500,000 construction project.

The Downtown Development Review Board voted 6-0 on Sept. 10 to grant final approval for the project proposed by developer Petra.

Petra will lease the 5,347-square-foot building to Ruby Beach. The Letter Shop, built in 1904, is a contributing structure to the Downtown Jacksonville Historic District. 

Mark Vandeloo, president of Ruby Beach owner Zeta Jax Inc., announced in February the brewery would relocate Downtown from Jacksonville Beach.

Ruby Beach will feature an outdoor beer garden.

Ruby Beach will employ a least 13 people Downtown. 

Plans show that Ruby Beach will convert the north-facing display window into a roll-up window to open up to the sidewalk and bring more fresh air into the taproom, an idea that materialized because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to plans presented Sept. 10 by Petra Vice President Elias Hionides.

The developer enlarged the outdoor beer garden to encompass nearly all of the parking lot, which was requested by the DDRB when it granted conceptual approval July 9.

The outdoor beer garden will be covered with a trellis and a sail canopy. Final designs show black trim and outdoor accent lighting. The Letter Shop’s exterior decorative tiling is restored and enhanced according to new renderings in the project’s plans. 

Hionides said during his presentation that the developers hope Ruby Beach can capitalize on foot traffic from the Florida Theatre as pandemic restrictions ease.

Hionides said Sept. 25 the build-out will take 4 to 4 1/2 months. He said he will participate in a site walk-through next week with the project contractor and tenant and expects to discuss an opening date at that meeting.

Ruby Beach was awarded a $75,000 forgivable loan June 9 for the interior build-out from the Downtown Investment Authority’s Food and Beverage Retail Enhancement Program. 

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