Karen Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Lagunitas, said the company has been working on the building since they moved into it in September, but what originally seemed like some “sprucing up” turned into a bigger project.
“It just became apparent to us in the last couple months that … the magnitude of the work is too great, and if we don’t get it done, then it could become a safety hazard,” she said.
Lagunitas is still compiling a list of all the work that needs to be done, which is why there’s no reopening date, Hamilton said. Some of the projects are necessary to brew and store beer, while others are just repairing the building.
“The exterior was one, and there’s all kinds of mechanical things that need to be either replaced or upgraded on the interior,” she said. “I mean, the list is too long to even go into, and it continues to be built right now.”
Scaffolding has been outside of the building for about four months to protect pedestrians from bricks falling out of the exterior.
The building, located at 161 East Bay St., is owned by New Jersey-based company Maloof Equities S.C. LLC. It was built in 1880 as a store and warehouse for F.W. Wagener & Co., which sold cotton, rice, groceries, fertilizers, liquor and tobacco.
Prior to Lagunitas moving in, Southend Brewery and Smokehouse had occupied the building since 1996.
Hamilton said Lagunitas is paying for the repairs itself, not the building owner, because that’s how their lease is written. She said it wasn’t that the previous owners let the building fall into disrepair — the building is just old.
“From what I’ve read now, this is not unusual in the downtown Charleston area, in the historic area,” Hamilton said. “So … it wasn’t a unique thing, then. This was kind of like how it goes.”