By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER - A vacant Dexter Shoe Co. building that municipal officials had once attempted to purchase and market to industries is now expected to become a tavern and a brewery. John Chappell of Warwick, R.I., a seasonal resident of this Penobscot County community, confirmed Friday that he has the shoe company's Water Street property under contract and plans to close on the sale in August.
Chappell said he expects to discuss his business plan with the Dexter Town Council next month.
When H.H. Brown/Dexter Shoe Co. closed its manufacturing operations in Dexter in 2001, it left about 700 people out of work and the Water Street building and two other large buildings vacant.
Municipal officials had planned to purchase the Water Street property with grant funds and renovate it to serve as a multitenant light manufacturing facility, but the sale fell through when an engineer's report pegged the needed renovations at $3 million to $4 million. Chappell said he is well-aware of the engineer's report, but noted that there are differences in the laws regarding what a private business must do to bring a building up to code versus what a municipality must do. "I'm ready to tackle the problem," he said.
The businessman, who owns and operates a tavern in Rhode Island, said he figured the Water Street building had remained vacant long enough, so he decided to buy it to help stimulate economic growth.
About 10 new jobs will be created through his business ventures under his holding company, Water Street Development Corp., he said. In addition to operating a tavern called Watering Hole, Inc. and Dexter Brewing Co., Chappell said he would provide financial incentives for other business ventures in the building. He anticipates opening the tavern in December and the brewery next year.
"I'm looking to start up some businesses" by providing opportunities for others who are contemplating economic development ventures, Chappell said.
There is plenty of room in the approximately 116,000-square-foot building for other businesses, he said.
Chappell said he is in negotiations with Shipyard Brewery in Portland to purchase that company's excess brewery equipment.
Once the shoe company finishes removing its equipment from the building, renovations will be started on the building, Chappell said.
|Back to News||Home||Print This Story|