Central Elgin Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve a $1.4 million lease-to-own agreement that will transform the municipally owned Dominion of Canada (DOC) building into a microbrewery. The grand opening of Port Stanley Brewing Company is tentatively set for May 24, 2023.
The transaction includes a five-year lease, at $100,000 a year, with an option for the microbrewery to purchase the property for $900,000. The firm is owned by Dominic Mescia, of Domus Developments and Westhaven Golf and Country Club, as well as Peter McClure, of Wasko Developments, all of London.
Port Stanley Brewing Company will also invest another $1 million to construct the necessary water, gas and electricity connections, said Michael Mescia, President of Domus Developments. An additional $1 million will be necessary to outfit the brewery, restaurant, and event space.
“Our vision is to add another destination to Port Stanley … ”, added Mescia. “The more we have the better the long-term viability of the town and the more attractive it will be so others will want to call it home. We hope this is the jump off point for the harbor lands redevelopment, to get it started and help attract the right mix and design of future properties.”
An 8,629 square foot structure on the western bank of Kettle Creek, just south of the King George VI Lift Bridge, the DOC warehouse was erected in 1930. The building was part of the package when Central Elgin and the Government of Canada signed a divestiture agreement in 2010, allowing the municipality to assume ownership of the harbourfront. It is on the municipal clerk’s list of heritage properties.
“I think you can see from the various projects we have done, are doing and have planned, our commitment (to Port Stanley) has been ongoing for 20 years and we hope it keeps going for another 20,” said Mescia. He is referring to Domus’ lakeview condos on Edith Cavell Boulevard, the Landings subdivision off East Road, the DOC building, as well as other pending housing developments.
“All of our projects try to incorporate an element of the feel and vibe of Port Stanley, to capture the village feel of the port-oriented destination town which has so much to offer,” added Mescia. “From the amazing shops, beach, restaurants, train, walkways, pier, boating and history, the word has gotten out about the town and now those people are looking for a place to live.
“They come with a variety of lifestyle needs and (Domus) communities try and offer something for everyone, from two-storey beach-side homes to one-floor bungalows, to our newly planned six-story apartment building (within the Landings development), which will offer ease of living and long-term rental options lacking in the community.”
Terms of the agreement with the municipality prevent the microbrewery from subletting the property. Central Elgin also gets first dibs to purchase the building if the microbrewery fails.