251 North St.

Prison City Pub & Brewery is eyeing 251 North St. as the site of its new facility.

Prison City Pub & Brewery has moved the site of its new facility a little ways up North Street.

In an application for financial assistance submitted to the Auburn Industrial Development Authority May 3, Prison City co-owner Dawn Schulz identified the facility's new site as 251 North St. Located less than half a mile from the facility's original site, 197-199 North St., the new 5.5-acre site currently has an 8,000-square-foot dairy barn.

Schulz said in the application that a purchase offer is in place with the lot's current owners, James and Robert Iwanicki. Its 2018 assessed value was $195,000, according to Cayuga County records.

Prison City plans to build on the property a 13,000-square-foot brewery, an adjoining 6,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor tasting and retail space, and 1,000 square feet of office space. It also plans to renovate the barn for use as additional tasting room, retail and storage space, Schulz wrote. She and her husband, Marc, declined comment to The Citizen until plans for the new facility are finalized.

The initial resolution for the project will be presented at the authority's next meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Prison City's application lists a tentative budget of $4,248,000 for the project. Schulz estimated that a little more than $3.8 million will come from bank financing and $420,000 from equity. She also noted that the brewery is a designated recipient of a $900,000 state grant that can be reimbursed over three years, and used as additional working capital.

In line with previous projections, the new facility will create about 25 jobs in production, retail and other areas over its first three years, Schulz wrote. A construction timeline of August 2019 to April 2020 is anticipated. Prison City will have to return to the Auburn Planning Board for site plan approval, which it received for the 197-199 North St. facility in March.

To support the project, Prison City is requesting a sales and use tax exemption, a mortgage recording tax exemption and a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement from the Auburn Industrial Development Authority. Between the three, the brewery would receive a total abatement of $460,342, according to the authority's calculations. Meanwhile, the project is estimated to create increases of $274,516 in property tax revenue over the course of the 10-year PILOT and, after three years, $236,617 in annual sales tax revenue and $735,000 in annual payroll.

Prison City has been looking to expand to meet demand for its award-winning beers, including its Mass Riot India pale ale (ranked No. 1 in a 2016 blind tasting of hundreds of American IPAs and No. 6 in 2018) and its Wham Whams barrel-aged imperial stout (winner of the 2019 Governor's Cup award recognizing the best beer in the state at the New York State Craft Beer Competition).

The Schulzes have said they anticipate their new facility will raise production of brewer Ben Maeso's beer from about 1,000 barrels a year to more than 10,000, and include canning and bottling lines. In the financial assistance application, Dawn Schulz noted that Prison City's new facility is likely to attract a significant number of visitors from outside the region.

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Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.


Features editor for The Citizen and auburnpub.com. I also cover local arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.