Hard Hat Happy Hour VIII: Old Town Manchester

1209 hull st

The long-vacant building at 1209 Hull St. once housed a Thalhimer’s department store. (Michael Schwartz)

The site for the fourth quarter installment of BizSense’s Hard Hat Happy Hour is set, as our popular event series ventures for the first time across the river into the rapidly evolving Manchester neighborhood.

On the evening of Dec. 6, we’ll head inside 1209 Hull St., a long-vacant three-story building that once housed a Thalhimers department store and is being redeveloped as a brewpub and apartments at the hands of Michael Hild and Laura Dyer-Hild.

Tickets for the event, presented by Sands Anderson, went on sale today at this link.

The Hilds, a husband-and-wife team, are dead set on transforming much of the neighborhood, particularly a large swath of Manchester’s historic Hull Street commercial corridor.

They’re using 1209 Hull St., along with a forthcoming donut shop at 1213 Hull next door and market/café at 1204 Hull across the street, to launch their efforts in the neighborhood. Through their Church Hill Ventures, the Hilds have acquired nearly 30 properties in and around Manchester – a list of holdings that’s growing nearly every month.

At 1209 Hull St., the Hilds are gutting the building to transform the first floor into a yet-to-be-named brewery and restaurant. The top floors will hold 12 one-bedroom apartments. Plans also call for a rooftop deck as an amenity to the brewpub.

Hild said the century-old property is known as the Baldwin Building, with its roots tied to the former H.V. Baldwin & Co. dry goods store. He said that business was sold in the 1950s to the Thalhimers, who used it as one of their department stores.

“It became the second Thalhimers store after their location downtown on Broad Street,” Hild said. “It remained a Thalhimers only for a short stint (until the early 1960s) with everyone leaving for the suburbs.”

As much of the neighborhood declined thereafter, the building then became a vintage book store, which left behind artifacts for the Hilds to find when buying the boarded-up building in March 2016.

“It was filled with old vintage books, literally pallets full of the same book,” Hild said.

He said they found a sex-ed book for newlyweds from the 1940s, adult coloring books, which apparently were a thing back then, and a vintage porn collection.

“You name it, we found it,” he said.

If all goes as planned, Hild said, the apartments in 1209 Hull will be ready in early 2018, as will the shell of the brewpub.

UrbanCore is the general contractor on the project. Joseph F. Yates is the architect. Campfire & Co. is doing interior and patio design.

O’Neil Engineering Services and Steven Applegate are the engineers. Virginia Credit Union is the lender for commercial shell and apartment financing.

As with all Hard Hat Happy Hours, guests will get a glimpse of the guts of the building as it’s taking shape, face time with those behind the project, and plenty of food, beverages and valuable networking.

Hard Hat Happy Hours are known to sell out, so be sure to visit our Eventbrite page soon for ticket information.

And here’s a look at previous Hard Hat Happy Hours:

Hard Hat Happy Hour VII: Scenes from an evening at The Cooperage

Hard Hat Happy Hour VI: Sights from the night at Symbol Mattress

Hard Hat Happy Hour V: Bus barn takeover

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