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Former Taco Bus site poised to become a micro-brewery

Margie Manning

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Rendering of Grand Central Brewhouse & Restaurant (Courtesy of Place Architecture)

Grand Central Property Holding plans to build a micro-brewery and restaurant on the site of the former Taco Bus on Central Avenue.

Grand Central Property, a development company controlled by insurance executive and philanthropist Kevin Milkey, detailed its proposal in a filing with the City of St. Petersburg, made public in advance of a Development Review Commission meeting on April 3.

It’s the latest in a series of projects in St. Petersburg for Milkey. His charitable foundation, Milkey Family Foundation, also is supporting Tampa Bay Watch’s new education center at the St. Pete Pier, as well as the Daystar Life Center, a social service agency that’s moving to a new home at 1055 28th St. N. The Milkey Family Foundation donated $1.5 million for the new facility.

Milkey, who is an executive vice president at American Strategic Insurance Corp. in St. Petersburg, is a big fan of the craft beer industry and is participating in the USF Brewing Arts program.

“I think there’s room for another brewery and I hope it fits nicely in the community,” Milkey said “We’ll have a wide spectrum of beers from lagers to all kinds of ales. Hopefully something for everyone.”

Grand Central bought the property at 2324 Central Ave. in September for $860,000, according to Pinellas County records. The company plans to demolish the current building, the former Taco Bus that closed in September 2017.

The proposed Grand Central Brewhouse & Restaurant, at 2324 Central Ave., is a two-story, 10,270-square-foot building with a 6,040-square-foot micro-brewery. Designed by Tim Clemmons and Greg Glenn, principals at Place Architecture in St. Pete, to look like a traditional American Main Street building, the west side of the structure would be a two-story micro-brewery with a tasting room. The micro-brewery would produce no more than 5,000 barrels annually, well under the 15,000-barrel limit that city code imposes on micro-breweries, according to the application filed with the city.

Milkey plans to own and operate the brewery. He wants to rent the east side of the structure to a restaurateur who would sell food that ideally pairs well with beer.

There would be an open-air courtyard for the restaurant and a beer garden for the micro-brewery between the two sides of the building on the ground level, with an outdoor terrace on the second floor to provide additional seating.

Parking would be behind the building. The Development Review Commission will consider granting a variance that would reduce the number of required parking spaces from 20 to 17.

David Foote, executive director of the Grand Central District, sent an email in support of the project.

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