Residents, visitors, and workers in Downtown Newark who have missed having a microbrewery in the heart of the business district might not have to wait much longer for one to return.
It has been several years since the Port 44 Brew Pub closed in Downtown Newark. Located at 44-46 Commerce Street, the business was hailed as the first of its kind to come to the city in decades when it opened in 2010 with then-Mayor Cory Booker cutting the ribbon. Although the space has remained vacant in the time since, Igor Pankov apparently is looking to bring a microbrewery back to this spot.
According to a legal notice from the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment, Pankov has applied for two variances in order to open the untitled business, which would also include a tasting room. This sort of operation is considered to be a “medium manufacturing use,” which is not currently permitted in this redevelopment plan area. Seven new signs are also proposed for the facade, one of which would be a 24 square foot double-sided sign that would be attached to the building. The rest, which is described as “vinyl applique,” would be mounted to the windows and doors.
The Board is scheduled to hear the proposal during its meeting at City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 7:00 p.m.
Although hundreds of commuters regularly drive past it to avoid traffic on neighboring streets, the building where this microbrewery could open is an architectural landmark hidden in plain sight. This historic three-story building dates back to 1927, according to the National Park Service (NPS), and was “designed as a deliberate copy of a Venetian palace.” The NPS reports that it was built as an office building for a local realtor named Edward Maier, but that Maier went bankrupt shortly after during the Great Depression. The Renaissance Restaurant and the Commerce Market convenience store later occupied the space, which reportedly contains four mosaic panels of canals in Venice.