- By Dan Veaner
It was just a year ago that Salt Point Brewing Company opened its doors in the building owned by and next to the Rogues Harbor Inn. On Wednesday the Lansing Town Board approved the sale of a 5.4 acre parcel of town land across the street from the Lansing ball fields that will be the first commercial business in the anticipated town center. Lansing Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne said the company plans to build a brewery and taproom that will take advantage of traffic along State Route 34B, and attract more people to the Lansing Center Trail.
"Imagine you go there, you have dinner and an adult beverage, and you go for a walk on a beautiful trail," said LaVigne. "Talk about win-win. The wetland will be preserved. So now you have a wetland, you have a path, and you have a nice little business there that wants to relocate from down the road. It is the anchor of our business district. It'll be huge."
Salt Point Brewing Company opened April 4th, 2018, with limited hours Wednesdays through Sundays. The business is a partnership between Chris and Sarah Hesse, and Camilo Bohorquez and his wife Alexandra Karnow. Quickly becoming popular, they extended the taproom hours to seven days a week, 4-8pm on weekdays, noon to 8 Saturdays, and noon to 6pm Sundays. Last summer they served their Lansing brewed beer at Music In The Park concerts at Myers Park, and Bohorquez says they are currently pursuing licensing to be able to do it again this summer.
Councilman Joseph Wetmore expressed concern about insuring the Lansing Center Trail not be removed.
"There are currently trails there," said Lansing Recreation Supervisor Patrick Tyrrell. "They can be modified or changed. Obviously we modified the trails for the Cornerstone development. It's one of the things they can change."
Town Attorney Guy Krogh said the brewery owners have agreed to maintain the portion of the Lansing Center Trail that spans the property. While portions of the trail may be moved to accommodate development, the Town has made keeping the trail intact a part of the requirements of purchasing land on the 153 acre town property.
"I would insert the same clause about preservation of the trails that we put in the Cornerstone contract in this contract," he said. "They've agreed to keep the trails. That's why they want that spot because part of their marketing is to service the trails. The trails were structured as rights of way so they can be moved and the loss of a location wouldn't create a dead end in the trail."
LaVigne said that the brewery quickly outgrew its current space in the small building next to Rogues Harbor Inn that has housed a number of different kinds of businesses, including a jewelry store, sandwich shop, and another brewery. The fate of the historic inn is unknown, as it has been closed and for sale for many months. The owners approached the Town with a proposal that was favorably received, but roadway and utility costs would have been prohibitive. LaVigne explained that the new business location will be similar to that of the Ithaca Beer Company, with a taproom/restaurant and an on-site brewery.
"They may also have events there," he said. "They're expanding. They've outgrown their space, and they don't know what the future of Rogue's Harbor Inn is over there. They were looking for a spot and they came to us."
With Rochester's Cornerstone Group's Milton Meadows project well under way, the outlook for the brewery changed. Louise Bement Lane, a new road, is part of the Milton Meadows project, extending from 34B to the housing project. The project also includes extending utilities to that project.
The Salt Point Brewery lot is to the west of the new road route, closer to 34B, which meant the partners would not have to shoulder that expense. The contract approved Wednesday sells the parcel for $75,000, a good deal for the brewery because it gets five acres for the price of three, and a good deal for the Town, because two of those acres are designated wetlands that are unusable for construction, so will be maintained 'forever wild'. It is also good for the town because it jump-starts planned commercial development that town officials say will increase the tax base.
The Town Board voted unanimously to approve the sale.