City Council votes to allow WISEACRE Brewing to lease Coliseum - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City Council votes to allow WISEACRE Brewing to lease Coliseum

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
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    Sometime in the future, when you head out to a Tigers' football game, you could be getting a beer for your tailgate brewed not too far away. Wiseacre Brewery wants to turn the vacant Mid-South Coliseum into a brewery. 

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    Sometime in the future, when you head out to a Tigers' football game, you could be getting a beer for your tailgate brewed not too far away. Wiseacre Brewery wants to turn the vacant Mid-South Coliseum into a brewery. 

    More >>
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

WISEACRE Brewing is fast on its way to coming to the Mid-South Coliseum. What once was the home of big performers like Elvis and Jerry 'The King' Lawler, now will have new tenants--and a new attractive appeal.

The ideas were endless on what to do the vacant Coliseum. Ideas ranged from turning it into a wrestling museum to a music hall. However, now we know what will happen.

After a lengthy discussion at City Hall, plans are now underway to make it the home of WISEACRE beer.

The Memphis City Council voted to approve the leasing of the Coliseum to WISEACRE Brewing.

But, WISEACRE's plan will not be to take up the entire Coliseum for brewing. The city would lease out the 60,000 square feet on the first floor of the Coliseum to WISEACRE Brewing in order to allow the company to go from 27 to approximately 80-100 in its workforce. 

The remaining space of the Coliseum will be rented out by WISEACRE to a mixture of different businesses, including restaurants and a climbing wall. 

The company said they will bring the building up to code and pay the city a monthly lease fee. Additionally, there is an agreement that 30 percent of the businesses hired to do the work will be minority contracts.

WISEACRE Brewing presented their plan to the council on August 9, and council members liked the idea.

"I think this is the best use that I've heard. I mean, it's a manufacturing use," Memphis City Council Chairman Kemp Conrad said. "We're talking 100 jobs. They're talking about putting a rock climbing wall in, maybe bringing the Greenline through."

Another huge plus for the brewing company is that WISEACRE is not requesting any public funds to get the building ready for their venture.

Memphis natives Davin & Kellan Bartosch own the brewery and dreamed of the idea many years ago to have a "top-notch experience from around the globe to deliver the crunkest brewery possible". They two gave their brewery the name "WISEACRE" based on "a term of endearment/scolding their grandmother used on the young troublemakers," according to the brewery's website.

Now, the final approval must be given by Mayor Jim Strickland in order for the plans to be put into action. The mayor has expressed his favor toward the proposal and the prospect of what the move could do to Memphis economically.

“It was great to work as a team with the City Council on a proposal that could further economic development – and at the same time repurpose a long-vacant building using no city money," Strickland said.

But, the decision to turn the Coliseum over to WISEACRE did not come without opposition.

"We would still be able to keep hold of some of that history," Georgia King said.

Some people, like King, were in favor of turning the Coliseum into a mixed used sports facility for young people. That was an idea presented by Brian Saulsberry.

"A lot of them, especially in the grassroots community, don't have any place to go."

But, the idea of the blemished building continuing to sit there seemed to play a role in the council's decision.

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