There may soon be a distinctive change to the flavor of downtown White Salmon, if an investment team's plans move forward as proposed.
Work is scheduled to begin in early June on renovations that will transform the old Oddfellows Building at 145-151 E. Jewett into a brew pub.
The 9,000 square foot building, which previously housed Miller Sports Liquor Store on the ground level, has been vacant for about two years.
The building is one of several empty storefronts in the downtown area, and merchants downtown expressed enthusiasm for the project, saying it could help their sales by bringing more foot traffic to the business district.
"We're looking forward to it," said Marge Welch, a sales associate with Artisan's Jewelry & Gallery, located just a couple doors down from the site of the planned pub. "That type of business will bring more people to the area, and it will be a nice addition."
If all goes as scheduled, the brew pub could open late this year.
"We'll open as soon as we can get it ready," said Brian Lippy, one of the partners in the business and a White Salmon resident.
Lippy added that the company intends to use only local contractors to do the reconstruction work. Given the existing work load for local contractors, Libby said it might be difficult to put the renovation project on a fast track.
"It's hard to project a date at this time," he said.
Officials with the city of White Salmon said the business will need a building permit to renovate the building, but no snags in the process are expected.
The water moratorium that impacts residential developments in the community will not be an issue for a downtown business, which already has a source of water.
"The building has an existing water meter service," explained Dixie Walker, associate planner for the city of White Salmon.
Brew pubs are an allowed use in the city's commercial zones.
Lippy said that although the business will be primarily a tasting room, the business will offer more than beer.
"There will be a limited menu. It won't really be a restaurant, but there will be a high quality menu," he explained.
Lippy, a kiteboarder who visited the area for several years before finally moving here, said he believes a brew pub could thrive in White Salmon.
"Hopefully, we can bring it to reality," he said.