For several years, the owners of Harrisburg-based Appalachian Brewing Co. have seen the writing on the wall.
Their 50,000-square-foot home base at 50 N. Cameron Street, which serves as its main brewery, restaurant and corporate headquarters, is running out of space as the business continues to grow.
"It sure seemed big when we started," Artie Tafoya, ABC's director of operations, said about the building that opened in 1997.
Early conversations began last decade with former Mayor Stephen Reed, Tafoya said. The business wants to see where the Thompson administration stands and work toward a favorable solution, Tafoya said.
"We're trying to take a property that has been vacant and useless for 40 years and put it back on the tax rolls," he said.
But the project has to make business sense, he said. ABC has turned to the Capital Region Economic Development Corp., or CREDC, the Harrisburg Regional Chamber's economic development arm, for help with financing.
"I think we're a landmark in Harrisburg. I don't see that changing," he said. "This is a win-win for the city and us."
A meeting with ABC management to discuss moving the project forward is expected to take place in the next week or so, city spokesman Robert Philbin said.
The company has pegged the cost around $500,000 to $600,000 to buy the property, demolish the old structure and put up another building. The building has to be demolished because the concrete roof is caving in and trees are growing out of it.
"If this were to work out, it would clearly clean up the neighborhood, plus add a property back onto city tax rolls," said Dave Black, the chamber's president and CEO. "It could be a win-win. Of course, legally, the city has a process it has to go through."
Since its inception, ABC has added locations in Camp Hill, Gettysburg, Collegeville and Lititz. The company, which also makes soda, has seen double-digit beer sales, Tafoya said, and continual growth in production.
ABC expects to produce about 6,000 to 7,000 barrels this year, he said. The facility has the ability to produce 12,000 to 15,000 barrels, he said, but that would take additional storage space.
"We're looking to expand. We've got a viable business and I don't see that stopping," Tafoya said.
ABC is constantly evaluating location options for new brewpub facilities within 100 miles of Harrisburg, he said. That could push it into northern Maryland or even out to Williamsport, he said.
"This (neighboring) space would free up other space," he added. "I think we could go to 30,000 barrels with this space."