Thursday, June 7, 2012

Newish News: Breweries for Gilgamesh, Santiam; and a Laundry Trip

By now you've heard about the new Gilgamesh location. Many commentators have greeted the move with enthusiasm.

We've been thinking about it for a while now, and we're not so sure.  We wonder if it's a missed opportunity.

The former Loose Ends site is tucked in between Pringle Creek, the Railroad, a warehouse and an office park. Basically, it's in the Fairview Industrial Park, just behind this office park.

The location isn't very conducive to walking or casual neighborhood visits. It's a driving destination. And while the prospect of creekside drinking and dining is alluring, it's hard to imagine it being really picturesque. It's really suburban industrial. And the warehouses are never far.

The Southside Speakeasy has made a similar and nearby location work, Wandering Aengus Cider House is not far; maybe with Pringle Creek Community and the rest of the residential stuff going in at Fairview, this is something of an emerging district.

It will be interesting to follow.  (A generation ago now, Widmer and Bridgeport and others in Portland located in industrial areas and the neighborhoods have gentrified around them.  So it's important to note that the same may happen here - we can only wish for success like that!)

Santiam Brewing

Many also know that the Beer Czar's side project, Santiam Brewing (and on facebook), is very near to opening. Maybe within the month!

As the crow flies, their site on 19th street just south of McGilchrist is very close to the Gilgamesh site. But between the railroad and road plan, it's a roundabout connection. Still, it is interesting both are siting in industrial areas. Both will be primarily breweries, so it's not all that surprising, but we still wonder whether locations more inviting to casual foot traffic and closer to residential neighborhoods would have merit. Perhaps rents vary too much; it's hard to imagine the industrial sites being very expensive right now.

The Capital City Laundry

Still, we want to suggest an alternate site for a brewery with a pub or tasting room. It's an industrial site, plumbed for heavy water use. It's in a somewhat historic building and has a glazed northern exposure facing one of the city's finest plazas across the street. It's nicely urban, and the Grant neighborhood is full of residences in easy walking distance.

It is the old Capital City Laundry, right across the street from the Broadway Coffeeshop. Perfect for redevelopment!  Apparently the Salem Alliance Church owns it, and maybe they have plans for it - but we can dream!

(In this vintage image from the Oregon State Library you can see what look like the overhead lines for the Oregon Electric interurban and streetcar. It went up High and Broadway and rejoined the main line just north of Madison, where it crosses Broadway.)

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