Developer unveils new plans for Downtown beer garden

Developer Bret Davis has come up with a new plan for a beer garden that will be built next door to a residential building her will construct on East Market Street in Downtown Salisbury.

Plans to build a luxury apartment building and a beer garden along Salisbury’s waterfront are proceeding following the sale of two city properties to developer Bret Davis.

“We feel like we’re going to make a positive impact,” Davis said as he unveiled plans for the site on Monday.

The 49-unit apartment complex and beer garden will be built on what is now a city parking lot on East Market Street on the opposite side of the Wicomico River from the Riverwalk Amphitheater.

The apartment building will include a sky deck on the roof, a small gym, game area, media room and first floor secure parking. The beer garden will be next door in what Davis called a “shipping container setup.” It will have its own parking area.

A few years ago, City Administrator Julia Glanz said she visited Salisbury’s sister city Tartu, Estonia, with Mayor Jake Day and City Council President Jack Heath and they saw a Riverwalk that was lined with restaurants and bars.

“A few of them looked very similar to this model and we were just in love with them,” she said.

Davis’ project will create more reasons for people to live in and visit Downtown, Glanz said.

In 2018, the City Council accepted Davis’ $15,000 bid for city parking lot 16. The council also accepted a $5,000 bid from Ryan Miller for a small park area next to it known as the Salisbury Green. Miller later agreed to sell the park to Davis.

“I’m very excited that we are moving beyond allowing parking lots to define what our Downtown is and who we are,” Glanz said.

The apartment building and beer garden are among several projects planned for vacant city-owned land over the past few years.

The first such deal was in 2015 when Devreco bid $225,000 for Lots 1 and 11 behind the Downtown Plaza and bordered by Camden, Division, West Market streets and Circle Avenue. The developers have a multi-use plan for the land to include a mix of retail, apartments, park areas and parking.

The City Council in 2016 also approved the sale of two waterfront parcels at the Port of Salisbury Marina for a mix of commercial and 50 residential units. The deal included the sale of one of the lots at the city-owned marina for $1 and to lease the second for $1 per year over a 50-year term to Salisbury Development Group LLC.

And in 2018, the City Council accepted a $10,000 bid from Green Street Housing for Lot 30 on Route 50 next to the drawbridge.

Most of the city land was once occupied by commercial buildings that were razed during 1950s and ‘60s urban renewal efforts. The land was then turned into parking lots, city officials have said.

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