Tenants at future Weathered Souls space say they were left in the dark about plans

Tenants at future Weathered Souls space say they were left in the dark about plans

The tenants at the space that Weathered Soul will occupy say their landlord kept them in the dark about the plans, and they now must leave. Photo courtesy of Gina Hamilton.

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Two businesses currently located in the space where Weathered Souls Brewing Co. will open next year say they were blindsided by the news and not given adequate notice to move out.

What’s happening: Ride or Die Spin Studio and Mugshots Coffee & Tea currently lease space in the 10,000-square-foot building off of South Boulevard along Clanton Road.

  • The building is owned by Stuart Brauer, founder of URBAN MVMNT, a gym that’s also located on the property.

Driving the news: Weathered Souls, the San Antonio-based brewery behind the Black is Beautiful beer initiative, expects to open in April 2022, with the brewery and an incubator space for underrepresented people in the craft beer industry.

  • In an email to his tenants, Brauer told Ride or Die and Mugshots on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 7 that they have until Nov. 30 to move out. The Axios Charlotte story broke the news of the brewery’s move the next morning, Oct. 8.

Why it matters: The growth of Charlotte neighborhoods leads to inevitable shifts in the retail landscape.

  • Some argue that that’s progress, while others bemoan the changes.
  • And while places like Phat Burrito and Price’s Chicken Coop garner the most attention, businesses of all types feel the impacts.

What they’re saying: The businesses say that’s too short of a timeline to find another space. And they say that for months, they were misled by Brauer into thinking only a portion of the building would be rented out that wouldn’t impact them.

  • “Right now I’m basically fighting for my life,” says Gina Hamilton, owner of Ride or Die.

The other side: Brauer tells me that there’s always been the possibility of leasing the whole facility. A broker put up a for lease sign in March of 2020 at the property, which listed 10,000 square feet available.

In the beginning, he said his intention was to try to lease only part of the building to make up for lost revenue during COVID-19. But he said no one was interested in leasing that little space.

  • Brauer said he turned down a number of offers, and others fell through. He says he told his tenants earlier in the week that something could be coming shortly before the deal was inked Tuesday, and then sent the email.
  • The brewery originally wanted a shorter timeline, according to Brauer, and he asked them to extend it through November.

Weathered Souls was told by the broker that current tenants were aware of the changes coming, says brewery co-owner Mike Holt. “I hate that it’s reflecting poorly on what we have going over there,” he says.

Still, Brauer says he understands their frustrations. His gym was pushed out of its previous location, which he wrote about in an Axios Charlotte (then Charlotte Agenda) piece.

  • Urban MVMNT is also shutting down with Weathered Souls’ move.
  • “This is not a David and Goliath story,” he said. “I am a small business owner just like them.”

Yes, but: Both businesses say they asked repeatedly about the space, and were told just the back of the gym would be leased.

  • Brauer referenced finding tenants for the rear of the gym in a text message from May shared with Axios by Reuben Silberman, co-owner of Mugshots.

Silberman says he’s excited about Weathered Souls, but he says he would have appreciated being informed about the plans to lease the whole space from the beginning.

  • He sunk money into the space, which he had leased until April 2023.
  • Now, he’s planning to close for a few months while he looks for another location.

What’s next: Both Silberman and Hamilton say now that they are struggling to find affordable space in the same area, where they have built their customer bases. Everything they are looking at are three or four times the rent they pay.

  • We watched that area of South End grow around us. And then it’s like, finally when we get the fruits of our labor, it gets pulled from under us,” Silberman said.

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