Brewery plans at former Hamilton substation go flat; city to buy property

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The anticipated brewery at a former Hamilton substation on Maple Avenue will no longer happen, and city officials plan to acquire it back.

Staff recommended last week that City Council terminate the development purchase agreement with Great Miami Brewing LLC, which had planned to operate as Amp House at the one-time electric substation.

In August 2021, there was excitement around the possible redevelopment of the building into a microbrewery on Maple Avenue, a corridor Hamilton leaders want to see redeveloped and revitalized. The city provided the owners with deals and incentives, including a 12-year tax incentive because, as the city’s Economic Development Director said in June 2022, they believed the project “represents something very significant.”

But Gunderson said Wednesday there were challenges the ownership group experienced that were too much for them to overcome at this time. That included the cost of materials and the lack of financing, he said.

“They have not seen a lot of excitement by lending institutions within the Cincinnati market for this type of operation,” Gunderson said.

While the Great Miami Brewing LLC paid $10,000 for the property with the then-promise of investing $1.5 million, they expanded the site’s footprint by purchasing some of the adjacent CSX lots and performed remediation and environmental assessments on the property. The city is agreeing to purchase the expanded lot for $200,000, according to city documents.

Because Great Miami Brewing LLC was unable to fulfill the terms of the purchase and development agreement, Gunderson said enacting the termination clause and reacquiring the building is “in the best interest of the Maple Avenue corridor.”

The owners confirmed the buyback of the property, and Ryan Harper, one of the co-owners, said they have seen a potential decline in craft breweries nationwide as highlighted by Also, in an article by Daily Sevenfity, experts in the field say small breweries “will feel the squeeze.” However, Cincinnati-based Third Eye Brewing just expanded into Hamilton, opening its second location on Erie Boulevard (Ohio 4).

Maple Avenue is one of the next revitalization focuses for the city (along with Lindenwald). The street ― which runs parallel to the primary east-west Hamilton artery of High Street ― was once home to industrial and train commerce. Meyer Brothers and Sons is leading the way to breathe new life into the antiquated corridor by making the first significant investment as they relocate and expand their business to 1000 Maple Ave., a former train depot.

At the corner of Maple Avenue and MLK Jr. Boulevard, sits the relocated two-building former CSX train depot. Hamilton moved it from its original site, which was 1,000-plus feet to the south, as it holds historical significance. Eventual plans are to have a restaurant or some other establishment in the two buildings. If Hamilton lands an Amtrak stop along the 3C+D line, Maple Avenue is the most likely location for a platform.

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