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Woodbury’s Craft Beer and Kitchen to make way for retail

Craft Beer and Kitchen, an independently run restaurant located off Radio Drive, closed May 28, 2017. Youssef Rddad / RiverTown Multimedia

The site of popular Woodbury restaurants may soon be cleared for new retail space.

Florida-based developer 700 Comm LLC submitted plans this March that would see the recently-closed Craft Beer and Kitchen restaurant replaced by about 14,000 square feet of retail buildings.

Located off Radio Drive and Tamarack Road, the proposed redevelopment of the 2.3-acre site is slated to go before the Woodbury City Council at the end of the month following the Planning Commission's approval Aug. 7.

Renamed as Commons Plaza, the project would see the 21-year-old bar and eatery demolished in place two multi-tenant buildings, a larger standalone building and a drive thru-equipped coffee shop.

The brick design of the buildings would resemble a similar architecture found up the road at CityPlace, said Woodbury Planner Mike Mrosla at Monday’s meeting. “This brings a new precedent to the area," he said.

Approved in 1996, the existing building housed Sunsets Restaurant before reopening as Craft Beer and Kitchen in 2014.

Craft abruptly shuttered on May 28.

Employees said management informed them a week before the closure that the restaurant’s landlord planned to sell the building. Washington County tax records list Sunsets Partners LLC as the property’s owner.

Emily Carlton, a student appointee to the city's Planning Commission, questioned the wisdom of opening a coffee shop, following closures to other cafes nearby. Planning Commissioner Steve Morris also asked whether the city should abandon hopes in finding another restaurant to move into the Craft building.

Woodbury Senior Planner Eric Searles said attracting a new tenant for the current building would be challenging because it’s uniquely built for a restaurant.

“We have allowed the market -- when it comes to commercial development -- make the decision on what the highest and best use is,” he said.

A spokesman for the 700 Comm said the company has yet to identify possible tenants.

Pending the City Council’s approval, Commons Plaza could open as early as next spring.

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