Vacant church eyesore to transform into craft brew hub

Neighbors welcome change on North Nebraska Ave.
Posted at 10:38 PM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 23:20:31-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A local craft brewer has big plans to convert a crime-ridden eyesore in Tampa into a new hotspot. 

"It was a magnet for homeless people and a lot of times drug addicts and drug dealers and prostitution," said Rick Wolfe. "When we basically turned the lights on eliminated the places to hide, it's cleaned it up substantially."

Rick Wolfe, of Brewers' Tasting Room in St. Petersburg, plans to transform a rundown church building, located at 3800 N. Nebraska Avenue, into the Nebraska Ave. Brewers Hub.

Craft brewers will be able to rent equipment, tinker with recipes, and serve directly to customers. 

"This area will be two different craft breweries that will get to launch their brand from here," Wolfe said as he walked ABC Action News through the property. 

Wolfe predicts the business will help erase crime and blight in a troubled area Tampa Police are often called out to. 

Through a public records request, ABC Action News uncovered more than 100 calls for service to the previously vacant property in 2015 and 2016. 

Neighbors who have lived in the area for decades are thrilled about the development. 

"I think that this is going to be really good for the neighborhood," said Victoria Bernaldo. "I think it will attract other investors that would like to clean up another portion, and that'll  be great."

Wolfe expects the Nebraska Ave. Brewers Hub to open by next spring.