STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
BURNET — A San Saba-based winery has agreed to a deal with the Burnet Economic Development Corp. to lease the Badger Building, which is undergoing more than $1.5 million in renovations, on the downtown square, officials said.
Burnet City Manager David Vaughn, who also serves on the EDC board, said officials made an agreement with Wedding Oak Winery for a five-year lease at $4,000 per month.
That lease includes a five-year renewable option that would increase payments to $7,250 per month if extended.
“They would have a small level of production on site with most of the wine produced off site and brought to the facility,” Vaughn said.
Four years ago, a planned partnership with the same winery fizzled as the price tag for a lease plan and renovation cost predictions became uncertain.
Officials recently rekindled discussions with the business during seemingly more favorable economic conditions.
“We really haven’t found anybody who sounds like a better partner than them,” Vaughn said.
The floor plan of the Badger Building, 229 S. Pierce St., is approximately 5,400 square feet; however, adjacent buildings purchased by the EDC increase the tenant space to 8,000 square feet.
EDC officials anticipate the total renovation cost to be $1.5 million to $2 million.
In May, crews demolished the adjacent former 60-foot-by-40-foot Burnet Chamber of Commerce space, located on the north side of the Badger Building, to launch renovations.
New construction features will include a partially shaded open-air roof patio.
On the east side of the Badger Building, new construction will include a patio, a lounge space, and a descending staircase.
Construction could be complete by April 2019.
On the inside of the Badger Building, the new tenant has plans to install winery tanks, store wine barrels, and create a wine-tasting area.
In anticipation of increased traffic, the Burnet EDC also purchased the property at the intersection of Pierce and Jackson streets and an adjacent lot for approximately $250,000.
Currently, a portion of Jackson Street, a half block from the intersection of Pierce and Vanderveer, is closed to accommodate construction staging and equipment.
The construction phase will continue, and the final authorization for the winery deal is scheduled to go before Burnet City Council on May 22.
“The lease is still contingent upon the EDC securing funding. We’re going through the loan process right now,” Vaughn said. “It’s also contingent on (the tenant’s) ability to get a federal wine permit.