The Things that Make a Great Location All Wrapped Up In One Place – Old City Market in Terre Haute

The Things that Make a Great Location All Wrapped Up In One Place – Old City Market in Terre Haute

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

It’s amazing how much of Indiana craft beer doesn’t have anything to do with making beer. There’s cleaning, there’s food, there’s management and customer relations, there’s countless financial and governmental issues. And then there’s the physical location.

Going against the age-old real estate mantra of location, location, location – successful craft breweries can be located in some unusual spots. For example, how many great breweries have you been to that have bizarre spots – just in Indiana there’s Harry Stuff Brewing which is in the middle of nowhere, St. Benedict’s Brew Works behind a monastery, and several places in industrial parks (Four Fathers, Our Lady of Perpetual Hops, Dot & Line, etc.).

Location isn’t everything when it comes to a brewery location, but if you combine history, attractions, design, and amenities with location – it can’t hurt. image credit: The Group

Of course, it’s not going to hurt a brewery to have a stellar location. What makes a location “stellar?” History, design, nearby attractions, a chance for lots of walk-up business… they can all add to a brewery’s appeal, if the organization knows how to exploit them.

History gives you two possible advantages in a building – stories and architecture. Take for example “Old City Market” in Terre Haute that is being renovated right now by Thomas Manson at Bishop Real Estate. Built in 1873, this original city market and one time Terre Haute City Hall at 131. S. 4th Street has been a part of Terre Haute history for all but 20 of Terre Haute’s 170 year history. “It’s one of the oldest surviving buildings in downtown Terre Haute,” says Manson, “The history is there. It’s just covered up.”

The original building was three stories tall, but when they removed the flying buttresses around the outside walls in the early 1900s it was apparent that the walls couldn’t support all that weight and the top two floors were removed. However, they replaced it with an arched wooden roof of 41 individual spines held up by steel arched trusses, leaving a 21 foot ceiling that is very impressive.

This is from when the building was a Kroger and they added a solid basement to 2/3 of the space. image credit: Vigo County Historical Society

After a stint as city hall, the building housed several businesses, including a Kroger, a Kawasaki dealership and Vigo Discount Tire. A four bay garage was added at that time, and has now been completely renovated as a Farm Bureau Insurance office with exposed brick walls and classic touches matched by modern design for the individual offices with transoms and great air flow. The design and construction team definitely knows how to integrate the new with the old.

To that point, the space afforded by that 21 ft. ceiling is seriously being considered for one, two, or three suspended mezzanines with overlooking views of the building below and the hardwood floors throughout. Exposed brick, 13 foot entrance openings, starburst arched windows – this will be a stunning space or spaces when completed in early 2022. I say spaces because the 6000+ sq. ft. of space can easily be divided into three or even four smaller spaces, but would work best as a large, open brewpub, restaurant, or tasting facility.

No one could argue that the great history and architecture of Upland’s Pumphouse location in Columbus doesn’t add to its appeal. image credit: eventup

The indoor space is matched by the outdoor space, with a connected, walled in patio on one side that would look great with an angled pergola encompassing those starburst windows. Indeed, all four sides of the building have ample space for al fresco dining or drinking, and the smaller space with a flat roof has access to that roof for a great elevated outdoor area. I see that as a legitimately spectacular cigar bar, with its views of Indiana State University and the 1884 Vigo County Courthouse.

The county courthouse and ISU campus lend credence to another appeal of this building in terms of nearby attractions. While close to a residential area for walk up business, the 13,500 students of Indiana State just two blocks away (many of them being of drinking age) and the county offices offer the prospect of instant regulars. Plus, it’s only one block off US 41 and two blocks south of the main east/west street through the city where the huge new convention center is being built.

The Old City Market offers a great advantage to lucky restaurant or brewery that will call it home. image credit: Walter

The Old City Market building is perfect for a slightly upscale restaurant to go with a tasting room or taproom, like the Cardinal Spirits spot in Bloomington or the Upland Brewing locations in Columbus and Jeffersonville.  “Sometimes you look at a space, and you know [immediately] what it is.  An office building can’t be anything else,” Manson said about the Old City Market,  “This space is a brewery. A tasting room. An upscale bar.  Once you see it, it can’t be anything else.”

And being “slightly upscale” in Terre Haute is a good thing, so many of the college kids have their parents’ credit cards, the lawyers in the courthouse will appreciate it, and besides, Terre Haute already easily supports high end places like J Ford’s, Stables Steakhouse, and Bar Bosco (all incidentally in renovated 1800s brick and beam buildings).

Yes, Indiana craft beer is more than simply making beer. Food, management and customer relations, and of course, the physical location, play a role.

Old City Market in Terre Haute demonstrates so many of the features that make it a stellar location for a brewery/winery, distillery, or restaurant – historical importance, nearby attractions, design and architectural elements, and chances for walk up business.  If you’re looking to expand your brewpub or distillery footprint in Indiana, make sure to contact Thomas Manson at Bishop Real Estate in Terre Haute.

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