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Lawrenceville Development Project Could Bring Iron City Beer Back To Original Home

LAWRENCEVILLE (KDKA) -- For 150 years, Iron City beer was brewed at 34th and Liberty Avenue at the edge of Lawrenceville.

The beer-making was moved to Latrobe a few years ago.

Now there's a possibility of a brewery coming back.

"We've been working on this for probably a year and a half," Cliff Forrest told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Thursday.

Forrest, a local coal executive who recently purchased the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, is looking to buy the 20-building site where Iron City used to be brewed.

"We were fortunate to work out an arrangement with the present owner to reacquire all the buildings and property," said Forrest. "There are approximately nine acres."

Forrest said the purchase is expected to close by the end of this year.

"I think it would be a great, great thing for Lawrenceville to have Iron City back in town," said beer-maker Sean Casey.

Casey owns the Church Brew Works just up the street and has talked to Forrest.

Casey said he isn't worried about the purchase falling through.

"I'm pretty confident Cliff Forrest, he's a very successful businessman, I think when he puts his mind and energy to something, he will see it to a positive result," he said.

Forrest has already started repair work on several of the old historic buildings.

"We started renovating the office building which Pittsburgh Brewing has occupied since 1875, a beautiful, beautiful building, and we're putting some slate roofs on a couple of the other buildings just to preserve them," Forrest said.

Now the plans for this 9-acre site are still really up in the air.

The new owner says he may want to have residential here, some condos, and perhaps office space, maybe some retail.

He might even bring back a small brewing operation like one of those pub craft beer places.

Forrest thinks the Ober Haus would be good for that.

Casey welcomes the competition.

"We're an island in a sea here, so if we have another brewery next door, we're going to welcome it."

"We'll collaborate with them, and people can visit both of us."

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