Lumberyard Follows Community’s Lead

Brevard Lumberyard in the newsAfter creating a calendar of all the events in the past year or more at the Brevard Lumberyard, Josh Leder noticed those events were helping define a vision for the site.

“It’s a gathering spot and a place to build community,” said Leder, who in the summer of 2012 bought the 2.5-acre former lumberyard on King Street.

The events have ranged from school fundraisers, including the Brevard High School Chorus to Taste of Transylvania, to numerous art shows, free film showings and a location for video shoots by local musicians.

“The direction that the Lumberyard has taken has been more about the community than about the owners,” Leder said.

Leder said he’s “embraced” what has “naturally evolved” at the site and is now looking for a permanent tenant to occupy a renovated 5,000-square-foot indoor space and a 10,000-square-foot outdoor/covered space.

A rental flyer calls it a “perfect spot for a brewery, bar or restaurant.”

The Haen Gallery at Lumberyard Arts occupies an adjacent space.

Leder is excited not only about the Lumberyard, but other ventures in the Railroad Avenue area, including artist studios, such as the Circle Factory, and 185 King Street, a popular live music venue located opposite the Lumberyard.

Leder said Jackson Wine, 185 King Street’s owner, has done an “incredible job” with the venue.

“I’m thankful and encourage by his success,” said Leder, who believes the Lumberyard and the surrounding Railroad Avenue can become a local and regional destination and, ultimately, a “huge economic driver” for the community.

The city also has hopes for the area. During its retreat Thursday, Brevard City Council received an update on the Railroad Avenue Small Area Plan, which proposes sidewalk, utilities and streets improvements, and possible zoning changes to allow more mixed uses to spur investment.

The plan hasn’t been finalized, but city officials see the area, which was Brevard’s commercial center before it moved to Main Street, being a popular arts district one day.

The Brevard Lumberyard is part of a growing trend of redevelopment of “rough” former industrial areas across the country, showing “what is old is now new,” Leder said.

Leder has a love for the building’s history and the old signs that adorn it.
It “pains” him, he said, that the old railway station was torn down in the 1980s.

As part of honoring the lumberyard’s past and the people who worked there, Leder commissioned the painting of a large mural (see below) showing a man sitting on the tailgate of a truck.

“We created a mural that could be a symbol of a time and place that was once the center of commerce,” Leder said.

Leder said they’ve “just started” at the Lumberyard, and he’s anxious to see what a Calendar of Events may look like five, 10 years from now.

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Source: Transylvania Times