Cary considering facade grant for new pub

CARY – Two beer brewers are hoping to buy the Cary Public House at 208 W. Main St. in order to open a pub and restaurant called the Cary Ale House and Brewing Company.

To purchase the property and make improvements, brewers Chris Panagakis and Dustin Davies plan to spend about $200,000.

And to help with the project, the Village Board is expected to consider approval of a facade grant of up to $10,000 in 30 to 60 days, said Village Administrator Chris Clark.

The planned improvements by Panagakis and Davies include enhancements to the kitchen, new furniture, fixtures and putting in a small microbrewery in the lower level of the space. There also would be new restaurant equipment, improved lighting, a new bar top and a refinished floor, among other things.

Panagakis has home-brewing experience, and Davies has commercial brewing experience.

Panagakis said during a recent village meeting that he and Davies hope to revamp the kitchen and bring in high-quality food.

"It's a great space, it works, but it's not the most attractive piece of property in the neighborhood," Panagakis said. "We're hoping to help that out."

They also plan to remodel the exterior with a new awning, a sign, windows and lighting and make parking lot and landscaping improvements. The exterior improvements are estimated to cost $57,250, when including the parking lot work.

"We believe that our improvements will help the village of Cary in its desire to beautify the downtown area and increase local commerce," Panagakis wrote in a letter to the village.

There also would be some electrical work for lighting upgrades.

Panagakis and Davies have asked for a facade grant of up to $10,000.

If the village agrees to the grant, Panagakis and Davies would have to spend $20,000 on facade improvements and would then be reimbursed up to $10,000.

The village doesn't have a dedicated facade grant program, but its Economic Development Plan and Policy allows the Village Board to consider economic incentives on a case-by-case basis, according to a village memo written by Chris Stilling, director of community and economic development.

About $100,000 has been set aside in the village's fiscal 2015 capital projects fund budget for economic incentives.

Typically facade grants are matching dollars and usually a 50-50 split for eligible expenses, Stilling wrote.

Trustee Rick Dudek said he would like to see more money go into the actual facade.

"This building is an eyesore, so I like to see something more done to the building," Dudek said.

However, he is supportive of the new business.

"We need something downtown to compete with the Tracks," Dudek said. "I would love to see [the] place go hog wild."

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