Bear Island Brewing Co. obtained Boise City Council permission Tuesday to turn the Boise Fire Department’s former Firehouse No. 6 on Liberty Street just north of Fairview Avenue into a brewery with a taproom and other space.
The company, run by husband and wife Beth and Steve Bechtel, both Navy veterans, plans to add two garage doors to the west side of the building, “bringing back the original appearance and appeal,” according to a letter CEO Beth Bechtel wrote to the city. Other than that and a few new windows or doors, the building won’t change much, according to the letter.
“Our ultimate goal is to become the ‘neighborhood’s living room’ and therefore a community gathering place,” Bechtel wrote. “We will create a comfortable location for our neighborhood with multiple beverage options such as our beer, local wine, local cider, and non-alcoholic beverages such as soda pop, coffee and tea.”
The old fire station sits behind a Jackson’s convenience store on the northeast corner of Liberty and Fairview. If the plan becomes a reality, brewing equipment will be placed in the bays where fire trucks originally parked, according to Bechtel’s letter. A building east of the main firehouse structure will be the Bechtels’ home.
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Following a public hearing Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved Bear Island’s plan.
“I really think this is a great way to reuse a building,” council President Lauren McLean said.
For three years, Bear Island has operated a wholesale brewery out of the Bechtels’ two-car garage in West Boise, according to Beth Bechtel’s letter to the city. The company sells beer to a variety of restaurants, craft beer bars and stores around the Treasure Valley, according to its website.
The company wants to start renovating within a couple of months and open the brewery by the end of this year, Beth Bechtel said.