City officials, Eau Claire brewery at odds over terms of Silverm - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

City officials, Eau Claire brewery at odds over terms of Silvermine building sale

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Eau Claire (WQOW) -

City officials and an Eau Claire brewery are in talks, once again, about the future of a city-owned building near downtown. 

The owner of the brewery says what seemed to be a done deal has left a sour taste in his mouth. 

"It's just been a real hassle," William Glass with the Brewing Projekt told News 18 Wednesday. "And like I said, I just don't think that this is the way someone should do business." 

The owner of the Brewing Projekt in Eau Claire is boiling with frustration after a nearly year long journey to purchase the former Silvermine Stone Company on Oxford Avenue has halted. 

"I believe that the process is flawed in the way that it was executed," Glass said. 

In mid-October the Redevelopment Authority approved development and lease agreements for the Brewing Projekt, to allow the brewery to move into the building and start renovations.

"We specifically negotiated language inside of that paragraph up to, and I believe including the sentence where it mentions hazardous materials, so we thought we were good," Williams said. "And then a week later, it seemed like the rug was pretty much pulled out from under us when we were told we would not be getting a signed lease." 

The sticking point is who will pay to clean up possible contamination and asbestos inside the Silvermine building.

The RDA says the city attorney reviewed the development and lease agreements. The RDA claims, under the development agreement, Glass would be responsible for the costs. 

But in the lease agreement, it states the RDA would take responsibility, which, the RDA says is not what it originally agreed to. 

"The board made it clear that their original intention was to not be responsible for the remediation environmental," Mike Schatz with the Eau Claire RDA told News 18. 

The mishap has Glass a month behind schedule. He's questioning why the error wasn't caught and corrected sooner. 

"Apparently, something got messed up somewhere," he said. "Somebody didn't read something. Or something wasn't fully understood or vetted." 

"I think everybody wishes it was caught sooner," Schatz said. 

Glass says with time and money lost, he's not sure what the future holds for brewing his craft just a few blocks away. 

"We have hit capacity in our current building. We can't do anymore than what we're doing right now," Glass said.

"Our business is trying to grow. At this point, how far can you be pushed and how much can you put up with before you throw your hands up and say we're done." 

The RDA says test samples were taken inside the Silvermine building in early November. If there are environmental contaminants and the RDA is not willing to pay the clean up costs, Glass says he may choose not to open the brewery at that location. 

In the meantime, he says he's looking at another property in the Chippewa Valley as a back up. He would not share where, specifically. 

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