BREW, a downtown Raleigh coffee house and bar, has plans to open a new location in The Cary theater in downtown Cary, if the Cary Town Council approves a lease Thursday, Sept. 24.
BREW opened just over a year ago off Peace Street near Seaboard Station. It offers coffee, espresso and tea from local companies, including Raleigh Coffee Company, with a light breakfast and café lunch menu, wine and craft beer. It is owned by A.J. Viola and Mike Sholar.
“We’ve very interested in Cary’s growth,” Sholar said. “We’re interested in being a part of what is becoming a very vibrant downtown area, and we’re excited about the possibility of expanding into The Cary theater space.”
On Thursday, the Cary Town Council will consider authorizing a lease for New Station LLC to take over the café and concession area on the first floor of The Cary at 122 E. Chatham St., and to expand the theater’s food offerings. There will be a public hearing about the lease.
If the council approves the lease, it would take several months before BREW’s operations would be operational, said Ted Boyd, Cary’s downtown development manager, though he expects it could open by the end of the year.
Sholar said a name had not been selected, but he expects it would incorporate the names of The Cary and BREW.
“This is not an expansion for us as it is more a growing in our community,” he said. “Community is in our DNA, and when we look at Cary, we see a strong community.”
If approved, BREW would take over the 800-square-foot concession area and adjoining outdoor patio for three years, according to the lease. The lease would generate $24,000 in revenue for the town – $4,800 the first year and $9,600 each of the following years.
The shop would be open a minimum of six days a week. That includes an hour before show times Thursday through Sundays, when the theater offers independent and classic films, concerts and comedy shows. They would be expected to open at least two other days during the week, according to the lease.
According to the lease, the town will be responsible for some improvements to the space, including minor electrical, plumbing, lighting and interior improvements – estimated up to $15,000 – unless the council votes to negotiate the terms of the lease.
“What we have in Raleigh, we want to bring to Cary,” Sholar said. “If that’s in the Cary Theater space, that would be fantastic. If that doesn’t happen then it’s not the end of kind of our desire to grow in Cary.”
The concession area currently is operated by town staff. According to the town, the new arrangement will free up staff time as well as operating costs dedicated to operating the concessions.
The Cary opened in February 2014 as part of the town’s overall revitalization of downtown. The town leases the second floor to The Cary News and the third floor to Cary Cofounders Lab, an incubator for early-stage software companies.
The Town Council approved a license agreement with entrepreneur David Gardner in February that allows him to use the third floor’s 1,730-square-foot space to host and mentor startup companies. He doesn’t pay rent but is required to consult town staff on economic matters at least eight hours per month.
Kathryn Trogdon; 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon