locally owned since 1854

Former Hummelstown borough building likely to become a brewery

Posted 6/19/19

Hummelstown’s former borough building is slated to become the new home of Rubber Soul Brewing.

Hummelstown native Mike VanGavree said he and his three partners last month acquired …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Former Hummelstown borough building likely to become a brewery

Posted

Hummelstown’s former borough building is slated to become the new home of Rubber Soul Brewing.

Hummelstown native Mike VanGavree said he and his three partners last month acquired Maryland-based Rubber Soul’s assets out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and hope to get borough approval to open the brewery in the former municipal building. Failing that, VanGavree said they would turn the building into class A office space.

VanGavree and his partners, operating as Ghost Brewing LLC, purchased the former 5,304-square-foot municipal building at 136 S. Hanover St. and a 1,197-square-foot adjacent home also owned by the borough for $315,250 last month. The borough moved to its new building about five blocks away at 261 Quarry Road in December 2017.

“The Rubber Soul brand recognition is remarkable, and Hummelstown is a great place for a brewery to capture some of the overflow from Hershey and the related tourism,’’ VanGavree said, adding he expects the business will initially create a dozen jobs. “I grew up here and my family is here, and I liked the idea of bringing this opportunity to Hummelstown.’’

The plans are part of a redevelopment project under the Dauphin County Commissioners’ Transformation Initiative.

As they unveiled the project June 5, commissioners were joined by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who announced the county would receive a second Brownfields Assessment Grant for $300,000.

Funding from the initial $400,000 grant was used for an environmental assessment of the borough building and helped the deal move forward, according to the commissioners’ office.

“This project shows what is possible when the different levels of government work together along with the private sector,’’ said commissioners’ Chairman Jeff Haste. “Conducting environmental assessments is a key part of marketing these properties to developers, and EPA’s support has made that possible.’’

“Especially with older townships and boroughs that don’t have undeveloped land for new construction, it’s vital that we help them bring new life into vacant commercial and industrial sites,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries, who oversees the county’s Department of Community and Economic Development. “In addition to putting this property back on the property tax rolls, it will create new jobs and opportunities in the community.’’

Commissioners said they expect to use the majority of the new grant for environmental assessments of the 300-acre State Hospital grounds. An agreement of sale pending approval by Gov. Tom Wolf would allow the Dauphin County Redevelopment Authority to market the property for no money up-front and then split the proceeds with the state.

“When a business takes over a vacant commercial or industrial site, they turn a drain on the community into a prized asset that create jobs and adds to the tax base,’’ Commissioner George P. Hartwick III said.

In addition to $4,500 used to assess the former Hummelstown municipal building, EPA-funded assessments were used to analyze the almost 6 acres of former steel mill land slated for The Steel Works, a mixed-use development in downtown Steelton featuring a grocery, brewpub and more than 100 apartments.