903 Brewers eyes FM 1417 corridor for new brewery

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
An artist rendering shows plans for a new 903 Brewery that could be developed along FM 1417.

903 Brewers  may soon be moving shop to a new facility on one of the city's major growth corridors. Representatives with the brewery are expected to present plans for a new brewery, restaurant and warehouse to the Sherman Planning and Zoning Commission when it meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The new project replaces previously-announced plans to convert the former Lee School near downtown Sherman into a restaurant and brewery. Owner Jeremy Roberts said the new facility will offer space and capacity that neither the brewery's current site or the schoolhouse could offer.

"We have sold the schoolhouse. A big reason why is we out grew it," Roberts said Friday. "When we bought it about four years ago,  we didn't think we'd be brewing as much as we are now."

Plans for the new site, which will be built at the corner of FM 1417 and Northgate Drive, include a 45,717 square-foot building. This will allow the brewery to dedicate 30,047 square-feet of space to production, warehouse uses and the restaurant. An additional 10,000 feet will be used as a covered patio, and about 3,900 square-feet of upper-office space.

The size and capacity of the new site will hopefully allow the brewery to quadruple its current production, Roberts said. Beyond simple square footage, the site will feature twice the ceiling height of the current building and would allow the company to house larger pieces of production equipment.

Beyond the building itself, Roberts said the site will allow expansion if business continues to prove profitable. The new site will include five acres — more than double what is offered at the schoolhouse — with an option to expand into an additional five acres.

Roberts said the property along FM 1417 will alleviate some of the issues that face both the current building and the schoolhouse site because the area is still mostly undeveloped.

Both sites, which sit in neighborhoods provide a logistical nightmare for freight and truck traffic which the streets are not set up to support.

"Being in a neighborhood and having that number of trucks is hard," Roberts said, adding that the current brewery sees 12-20 trucks each day.

The schoolhouse site was also surrounded by other developments and would not be easy to expand like the new site, Roberts said.

"It (the schoolhouse) sits on 2.2 acres, which sounds like a lot of land, but when you build parking, the new brewery, you are out of room," he said.

Roberts and 903 Brewers announced plans to move into the schoolhouse in late 2016, with permits and other preparations with the city conducted in 2017 and 2018. However, the site ultimately was never developed as a Brewery and has since been sold to a new owner.

"At the end of the day we out grew it," Roberts said. "There is no way we could put our current operation in that building."

With regard to the brewery's current, two-building site, Roberts said the landlord has plans to use it for another purpose.

"We were needing to move to a larger facility so this works out beautifully for everyone," he said.

If plans are approved, Roberts said estimates for the construction phase of the project range from nine months to 18 months.