Potential brewery site pegged for entertainment

City buys land to secure vision in strategic plan

By ROBERT JORDAN
Of the Record staff
Posted 6/17/22

The Daily Record received questions from readers regarding the city of Dunn’s purchase of real property on West Harnett Street in Dunn. The property in question includes a building and land …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Potential brewery site pegged for entertainment

City buys land to secure vision in strategic plan

Posted

The Daily Record received questions from readers regarding the city of Dunn’s purchase of real property on West Harnett Street in Dunn. The property in question includes a building and land advertised by Grain Dealers Brewery (GDB) for projected use as a brewery, restaurant and entertainment facility. Those questioning the purchase were concerned the city had entered into a business venture with GDB.

“There seems to be some confusion about why the city bought this property,” said Mayor William Elmore. “I want everyone to understand that in no way, shape or form has the city entered into any type of business arrangement with Wesley (Johnson) or Lee (Honeycutt) (co-founders of GDB).”

Elmore said the city purchased the property to secure its future potential as an entertainment district, envisioned in Dunn’s Strategic Plan.

At a special meeting March 14, the Dunn City Council voted to purchase the 140-foot-by-300-foot parcel of land at 100 W. Harnett St. in Dunn. All discussions regarding this purchase were conducted in closed session at the meeting. Minutes from that session show the owners of the property, General Utility Company, agreed to sell the land and building for $150,000. Mayor William Elmore, broker and owner of Elmore Realty & Builders, updated the board on his discussions with the property owners.

When the council returned to open session, Councilman Chuck Turnage made a motion seconded by Mayor Pro-Tem David Bradham to proceed with buying the parcel for $150,000. The motion was unanimously approved.

The city owns the property now. But Grain Dealers Brewery founders are still raising money to purchase and develop it for its vision.

Johnson and Honeycutt have been working for nearly four years to secure the property, but their ability to come up with the necessary funds was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The city believes in the good benefits and planning options available for this land in Dunn’s Strategic Plan,” Elmore said. “Due to GDB’s slowed capital campaign efforts, the city did not want to see the land availability slip into a use that did not fit the proposed modeling of the strategic plan.”

In an effort to protect the desired use of the property, Elmore explained that the city opted to purchase it in the name of future use and development.

“Now that Dunn owns the parcel, we can later offer it for sale by sealed bid. Prior to a future sale, the area can be properly zoned to fit the tone of the plan,” said Elmore. “We have no intention of selling it at a loss or to use tax dollars to support any private venture.”

When the city opens the property for bid, anyone can bid on purchasing the property, however, the city will still be able to control how the land is developed. In this manner, the city is able to adhere to the strategic plan it enacted.

Johnson, meanwhile, is adhering to strict rules enforced by the Securities Exchange Commission utilizing an investment process known as regulated crowdfunding. It is strictly monitored to protect the financial interests of the investors and the founders. Because of the rules surrounding this type of crowdfunding, the founders must be very particular about how they discuss the venture so as not to misrepresent their product in the eyes of the regulators. Visit http://www.investindunn.com to view the progress of this crowdfunding campaign. This website, operated by Vicinity Capital explains the regulated crowdfunding in detail.

Less than two weeks remain before the program funding deadline of June 30. On that date, if equity stake investment goals have not been reached, the process must legally end. By law, it can begin all over again, but that is not a regulated crowdfunding record that appeals to potential investors, and is a situation the co-founders hope to avoid.

“Traditionally, people in the Dunn area prefer to take a wait and see approach,” explained Johnson. “They like to see how many persons are willing to join the investment before they commit themselves.”

Most of the current shareholders in the venture live outside of Dunn, but believe in the city’s future growth and potential. Instead of donating to a cause, these crowdfunding investors hold stakes in the future business and in its success.

Regulating crowdfunding protects the investors. If the funding goals are not attained, all of the investors’ monies are refunded.

Johnson is well versed in this sort of campaign, which is unique to Dunn.

The city bought the property to protect its future use as an entertainment hot spot. Grain Dealers Brewery is raising investments to make it happen, but the future of the site depends on public support.

The city’s strategic plan can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.cityofdunn.org/imagine-dunn-strategic-plan.asp .

Robert Jordan can be reached at rjordan@mydailyrecord.com or 910-230-2037.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment