Planning commission blesses Manchester brewery, peruses VCU master plan

On Monday, Dogtown Brewing Co. cleared a hurdle on its way to opening at 1209 Hull St. (Mike Platania)

A Southside brewery took a step toward gaining a needed special-use permit at Monday’s city planning commission meeting, while Virginia Commonwealth University gave the city a look at its master plan.

The commission voted yesterday to approve an SUP for Dogtown Brewing Co., a brewpub planned to open at 1209 Hull St. in Manchester.

The concept is from local developers and couple Michael and Laura Dyer Hild, who announced the project about a year ago.

Michael and Laura Dyer Hild

The two-level brewery is set to feature over 20 beers on tap and serve a menu of classic pub food, while the top floors of the building are being converted into apartments.

Work on Dogtown is underway at the former Thalhimers department store near the intersection of Hull and East 12th streets.

The Hilds have amassed over two dozen properties in Manchester in recent years through their Church Hill Ventures LLC, with a number of business ventures planned for many of them, including Butterbean Market and Cafe at 1204 Hull St., Climax Beverage Co. at 2005 Hull St. and a second brewery concept, Manastoh Brewing at 1209 Hull St.

Earlier this year the first of their ventures, Hot Diggity Donuts, opened at 1213 Hull St.

Following delays of their efforts to expand Blackwell and Swansboro’s historic district, the Hilds listed nearly half of their properties in the Southside neighborhood for sale in September. The state approved the expansion last month.

The former Lighthouse Diner building at 1228 Hull St. has sat vacant for decades. (Mike Platania)

Despite putting many of their holdings on the market, the Hilds still are adding to their portfolio in Manchester. In October, Gardenia LLC, an entity tied to Laura Dyer Hild, purchased the former Lighthouse Diner building at 1228 Hull St. for $285,000, per city property records.

Calls to the Hilds were not returned by press time.

Dogtown Brewing Co.’s requested SUP now heads to City Council, which will vote on it at its Nov. 13 meeting. The matter is listed on Council’s consent agenda, which features items that are considered noncontroversial.

Master plan is revealed

Also at Monday’s meeting, members of VCU’s planning department presented a draft of the university’s “One VCU” master plan.

The document is a blueprint for the school’s redevelopment plans for both its Monroe Park and MCV campuses, as well as its academic and health systems in the next 15 years or so.

VCU began working on the master plan in fall 2017 and Monday’s meeting marked the first time the university presented a draft to the city.

Jeff Eastman, a planner at VCU, noted several projects VCU is mulling, including redeveloping the former Franklin Street Gym at 817 Franklin St. into a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) facility, building a new student commons across from the Cary Street Gym and redeveloping 534 N. Harrison for academic use.

Eastman said the university is presenting a draft of the master plan to the VCU Board of Visitors in December.

The commission also approved a special-use request for recently opened shuffleboard bar Tang & Biscuit at 3406 W. Moore St. in Scott’s Addition to operate as a nightclub, which essentially means it can stay open later. That item also will be heard at next week’s City Council meeting.

The draft of VCU’s master plan is available online at (Screenshot)

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