New brewery, restaurant, coffee shop approved in a booming neighborhood near uptown

 By Ely Portillo

October 15, 2018

More local beer is coming to Charlotte, as Charlotte City Council approved plans Monday for a new brewery along the Blue Line light rail extension.

Located on a vacant site in Optimist Park near the Parkwood Station, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a rezoning request. The new development will be at the corner of Brevard and 21st streets, across from a 309-unit apartment building called Parkwood Station that’s under construction.

According to the rezoning petition, construction is planned to begin as soon as the first quarter of 2019. The food served would be mostly “smaller plates and light food that pairs well with the beer brewed on site,” the developers said, according to a community meeting in July. The beer would be mostly in the 4-6 percent alcohol by volume range, but some styles would have higher ABVs. 

The brewery isn’t named in rezoning documents, but petitioners Michael Salzarulo and Ryan Owens are listed on LinkedIn as co-founders of Protagonist Brewery, a new Charlotte-based business. Three Pillars Capital is behind the development, documents show, and Three Pillars Brewing recently signed a lease for a small space at Fat City Lofts in NoDa.

The 3/4-acre site is near other breweries that have sprung up in the past few years, including Free Range Brewing and Birdsong Brewing. City planning staff said the proposed new brewery is “consistent with the Blue Line Extension Transit Station Area Plan.”

Passengers cheered and clapped as Charlotte’s light-rail extension left the UNC Charlotte station at 10 a.m. Friday morning, opening the Lynx Blue line after four years of construction.

The area is being rapidly transformed by an influx of new developments, a trend that’s accelerated since the Blue Line opened in March.

A few blocks away, developers are turning a century-old mill into a new food hall, creative office space and restaurant site called Optimist Hall. And along the light rail between uptown and NoDa, developers are building more than 1,500 additional luxury apartments in several new developments.