When brewers were putting down roots in downtown and Ghent a couple of years ago, some Ocean View residents pleaded for a microbrewery to come to their part of the city.
Now there could be two on the way.
Norfolk residents Scott and Susan Bateman want to turn a former auto repair garage into COVA Brewing Co. The site, at 9529 Shore Drive, could hold nearly 60 customers inside and about 100 more outside.
The plans follow an announcement by Bold Mariner Brewing Co. earlier this year that it would be expanding its business with a second location in Ocean View. The microbrewery, which has a brewhouse and tasting room in Lamberts Point, is opening its next place in the former Bank of the Commonwealth building at 1901 E. Ocean View Ave.
The COVA Brewing application, which is set to have a public hearing at a Planning Commission meeting Sept. 27, lays the groundwork for a 10-barrel brewing system, a tasting room and various outdoor activities. Plans show a grassy dog run area, a small band shell, a couple of fire pits and a bocce ball and cornhole court.
Scott Bateman, who has worked in the fields of health care and technology, is new to brewing but plans to hire a brew master to run the brewing operations. He and his wife are longtime beer lovers.
“We kept waiting for someone to open a brewery in the Ocean View area, where we’re from,” he said. “When the opportunity came, we decided to launch on this adventure ourselves.”
Now that there’s competition, he’s not daunted. In fact, Bateman said he hopes a third microbrewery will choose Ocean View, creating a destination that could one day support a trolley-type tour.
In a letter submitted with the application, Ann Bolen, president of the East Ocean View Civic League, said residents were “thrilled” with the proposal. The group was pleased that the project would have parking, she wrote, “which is always a concern in our community.”
The Batemans have the property under contract to purchase. Pending City Council approval, they want to open next summer.