Richmond incentives for Stone Brewing restaurant attract criticism

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Richmond City Council has approved $23 million in bond financing to help San Diego-based Stone Brewing set up its first East Coast brewery in the city.

A second set of incentives designed to aid Stone’s plan to build a riverfront restaurant, however, is getting pushback from local restaurant and brewery owners. The incentives package that attracted Stone to Richmond includes the promise of $8 million to be used by the company in setting up a bistro and beer garden on the James.

Some local restaurant and brewery owners have criticized a lack of transparency in the restaurant incentives deal although they say they do not oppose Stone coming to Richmond.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported in early December that Richard Johnson, a member of the Richmond Economic Development Authority board, said that if city council does not approve the $8 million, the EDA could find the funding itself.

Stone’s East Coast location was a highly sought-after economic development project. The company received more than 200 requests for proposals and made 40 site visits. Norfolk and Columbus, Ohio, were the other two finalists in the running for the brewery. Stone will invest $74 million in

Richmond and is expected to create 288 jobs. The brewery expected to be in operation in late 2015 or early 2016.

Virginia Business reported on Stone’s decision to come to Richmond in the November issue.

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