Swiss Hall is home to the Fraternal Order of Police Deputy Sheriff’s Lodge 25. | Courtesy of KCREA

This post is updated.

Against The Grain brewery announced Monday morning that it no longer plans to open a combination restaurant, beer garden, entertainment venue and outdoor community space in the Swiss Hall.

“There were issues rezoning the 2.69 acres from an R5 to a C2 to execute these ideas. The Planning Commission expressed concerns and the suggestions they made to render the project acceptable would have caused us to deliver a product of lower quality than we expect of ourselves,” according to a news release from Against The Grain.

“We respect their decision but do not want to engage in a project that cannot live up to the potential we believe it has. Part of Against the Grain’s mission statement is to be consistently excellent to our customers. We do not cut corners or compromise on quality in any realm of service or concepts,” the release from the brewery continued. “We did our best to bring culture and progressive business to the neighborhood and truly appreciate the support of the community, our partners at Work Architecture, and everyone else who has dreamt big dreams with us.”

When reached by phone, Against The Grain’s managing member Adam Watson said he and the other owners didn’t want to move forward if they could not provide customers with the specific experience they had in mind.

“We didn’t want to do a project that we couldn’t be fully proud of,” Watson said, noting that the brewery could develop the project elsewhere but doesn’t have a specific site in mind. “I think there is still a lot of value in what we’ve developed, so we will likely keep our eyes open.”

According to Louisville Metro Government records, the Planning Commission recommended at its March 15 meeting that Louisville Metro Council not approve the plans Against The Grain had submitted for redeveloping Swiss Hall. Planning commissioners raised questions about landscaping and barriers to help prevent the brewery from becoming a nuisance for existing homeowners and residents surrounding the property.

“That’s a big impact on the neighborhood, and what it sounds like from the testimony, there is really no way to mitigate that,” said Commissioner Jeff Brown, adding that if Against The Grain limited its hours of operation and did not host outdoor entertainment, then he might be able to support the development.

The commission voted 6-to-2 against approving the zoning changed and multiple waivers despite a positive report from Louisville Metro Planning & Design staff.

“The combination of preserved structures and proposed inviting outdoor dining and casual gathering spaces in conjunction with the remaining open space provides a parklike atmosphere for the surrounding community’s enjoyment,” the staff report stated. “The proposal is well-connected to the surrounding urban neighborhood and encourages multimodal interaction.”

The three-story, 12,260-square-foot building, located at 719 Lynn St., went up for sale almost exactly a year ago because the Fraternal Order of Police Deputy Sheriff’s Lodge 25 is looking to downsize. In November, Against The Grain’s owners said they planned to buy the property and repurpose it.

Insider reached out to Janet Board, a real estate agent with RE/MAX who was representing the F.O.P. in the sale, but she was unavailable to comment.

Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]