Englewood Barn project in Hershey delayed by brewery bankruptcy
The plan and opening date for a restaurant, brewery and live music venue at the historic Englewood Barn in Derry Township have changed after one of the partners in the redevelopment project filed for bankruptcy.
Maryland-based Rubber Soul Brewing Co. was slated to run the brewery operations at the redeveloped barn. But it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month and was forced to pull out of the deal as the owners attempt to reorganize the company.
That could include an ownership change, according to York bankruptcy attorney Lawrence Young, who is representing Rubber Soul.
The overall Englewood Barn project is still going forward, however, said Hershey resident Rick Russell, who is transforming the barn along with his business partner Jeff Sharp and general manager Tom Scott.
"We are disappointed that Rubber Soul was not able to be a partner," Russell added.
Russell said the partnership with Rubber Soul ended in December, ahead of the bankruptcy filing. After revamping part of the design and facing some winter weather delays, he said the new goal is to be open by October. The original target was summer.
"It was a small delay, but we're optimistic," Russell said Tuesday.
Despite the loss of Rubber Soul, Russell said the core of the project remains intact.
Once the project is done, the large nineteenth-century barn will be primarily used for live music and events. The 9,000-square-foot facility will also have a 135-seat restaurant and outdoor patio area with seating for about 150 people, along with a small in-house brewery.
The barn is part of the first phase of a mixed-use project being developed by the Hershey Trust Co. near Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The trust is looking to develop 245 acres of land it owns off Route 322 between Waltonville and Bullfrog Valley roads.
Russel said the team is in the process of hiring a brewer to produce beer and testing names for it. Englewood will likely be incorporated into the name.
Russell declined to disclose the cost of the barn redevelopment, but said it's significant.
"We know we're at the gateway of that West End development," he said. "There is an appropriate amount of pressure to make this nice. It represents one of the first things that people will see."
To execute their vision, Russell and his partners hired Ray Fertig Construction, a York Township contractor that handled the construction at Wyndridge Farm. Wyndridge, which is in York Township, is a popular wedding and entertainment venue with a restaurant, brewery and cider operations.
Clair Brothers in Lititz is installing sound and lighting systems for the venue.
Russell believes the Englewood project will be comparable to Wyndridge.
"We already have people trying to book the place," he said.