Odell Brewing Co. has been in growth mode almost since its founding nearly four decades ago. Go there on any given weekend — in non-COVID times — and the brewery’s Fort Collins parking lot is packed.
The East Lincoln Avenue brewery and taproom is once again seeking an expansion that would add parking, space for more fermentation tanks, and perhaps down the road, affordable housing, said Odell co-founder Doug Odell.
Odell, his wife, Wynne, and his sister, Corkie, founded Odell Brewing Co. and own about 12 acres north of the brewery. A few years ago, they floated a similar idea for housing and parking expansion, but the timing wasn’t right, Odell said.
“It became apparent late last year the brewery needed more space for its operations,” he said.
A conceptual plan shared with city planners in January revisited the idea of developing the site, including moving the brewery’s loading dock from the west to north side, adding fermentation tanks where the loading dock is currently and creating more formal overflow parking behind the building.
“It accomplishes two things,” Doug Odell said. “It gives us more fermentation space and gets semis out of the parking lot.”
It would also provide truck access from Buckingham Street and away from crowded parking lots.
Eventually, and separate from the brewery expansion, the Odells hope to donate some of the 12 acres to Habitat for Humanity “and see what they can do with it.”
The conceptual plan calls for townhomes. “We’re in favor of trying to do something good in offering attainable housing close to downtown,” he said. “There’s a good strip of property along Third Street to do so.”
Before anything can be done, however, remnants of the area’s decades-old sugar beet industry must be scraped from the land. The site is up to 10 inches deep in precipitated calcium carbonate, a byproduct of beet processing.
The byproduct is inert, Odell said, but the cost of removing it could be substantial. Depending on that cost, it could make it difficult to develop homes that were affordable, he said. “That’s what we’re still trying to work out.”
Next week, bore holes will be drilled to determine the exact thickness across the property. Then they’ll have a better idea of what it would cost to remove it.
The timetable for the expansion is still unknown, especially for the townhomes. “The brewery expansion and building is much more of a sure thing than any talk on building houses,” he said. “It’s also optional. We don’t have to do it, but it’s something Wynne, Corkie and I would like to do if we can.”
Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at email@example.com. Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.