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Intuition Ale Works plans to open a brewery Downtown by the Sports Complex. (Photo from voidlive.com)
Jax Daily Record Friday, Sep. 12, 201412:00 PM EST

Intuition Ale Works parking plan approved for Downtown brewery

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Developers of the proposed Intuition Ale Works brewery at 929 E. Bay St. found out Thursday that parking can lead to a lengthy discussion. But it didn’t prevent the Downtown Development Review Board from approving the project.

Based on the 36,000-square-foot brewing and retail operation, Downtown building code requires 64 parking spaces. The site plan submitted showed only 57 parking spaces.

Board members became concerned when they learned that during events, including sports, entertainment and private parties, there would be no parking available on the site.

Attorney Wyman Duggan, representing the developers, said while the project is mainly an industrial brewing facility, at certain times the parking area would become an event space with outdoor tables.

Ample metered parking is available along A. Philip Randolph Boulevard and there is a city-owned parking garage near the site, he said.

City Council member Lori Boyer attended the meeting and supported, for fiscal reasons, the use of the municipal garage by Intuition’s patrons when parking wouldn’t be available at the surface lot adjacent to the brewery.

“The Arena Parking Garage has significant vacancy,” she said. “Its revenue does not cover its debt service.”

On the question of how often the building’s parking lot might be closed and who would determine when it would be closed, Duggan said that decision would be “at the discretion of the tenants.”

Based on that premise, “It would be within their discretion to go to down to zero every day,” said Jason Teal, city assistant general counsel.

Board member Carol Worsham said even if closing the parking lot intermittently was approved, the lot still would be constructed as presented.

“We would be giving them the opportunity to turn the parking lot into flex space,” she said.

Ultimately, the board approved the deviation in parking standards, including allowing the parking lot to be closed at Intuition’s discretion.

After the decision, Intuition founder Ben Davis recently told the Daily Record he has no plans to close the parking lot other than for sports and entertainment events and to maintain traditions established since 2010 at his brewery at 720 King St. in Riverside.

“We’re going to do what we do at our current location,” he said. “We’ll have Oktoberfest and our annual party and new beer introductions and we’ll host fundraisers for charities.”

Davis said he doesn’t anticipate patrons objecting to parking a short distance away from Intuition.

“There’s plenty of parking in the area. A lot more than we have on King Street,” he said.

The board also granted approval of the landscaping on the site and conceptual approval for the architectural design.

Review for final approval is scheduled when the board meets at 2 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Lynwood Roberts Room at City Hall.

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