As negotiations continue over the sale of the building housing the popular Phoenix Emporium bar and restaurant, the restaurant’s owner announced plans in a Facebook post Monday to purchase and merge with the Ellicott Mills Brewing Company.
Howard County officials continue to work to acquire the building at 8049 Main St. in Ellicott City as a part of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan, according to a Howard County government news release.
If the purchase is finalized, the Phoenix Emporium’s building will be the last property of 10 on Main Street to be sold to the county as part of the flood mitigation plan County Executive Calvin Ball announced earlier this year.
Two historic floods tore through Ellicott City, one in 2016 and one two years later, killing three people and destroying numerous businesses.
“The floods of 2016 and 2018 have taken a financial, physical, and emotional toll on my family, our staff, and all of our families, friends, and community that we continue to process to this very day,” Phoenix Emporium owner Mark Hemmis wrote in the social media post.
The Phoenix Emporium, at the base of Main Street across from the B&O Ellicott City Station Museum, will have its last day March 31.
Howard County needed to acquire 10 properties on lower Main Street before it could begin to roll out its five-year Ellicott City flood mitigation plan. In November, Ball said the county had purchased nine of them, leaving the Phoenix Emporium building as the remaining holdout.
Under the plan to ease future flooding, the county will raze four buildings — Phoenix Emporium, Great Panes Art Glass Studio, Discoveries and Bean Hollow — and tear down back portions of another six on Main Street in the historic district.
Ball also said he wants to fully implement the flood plan by 2025, but there is currently no firm timeline.
The Phoenix Emporium’s Facebook post, which had more than 1,600 likes and 670 shares as of 4:30 p.m. Monday, was the first announcement of the merger.
“Co-Owner Timothy Kendzierski and the management team of Dwayne Bouvere, Carrie Foley, and Jamie Voss will stay on as we navigate the merging of these two iconic Ellicott City businesses and will remain as we take this new venture into the future,” Hemmis wrote in the post.
Hemmis said the plan is to continue to brew beer and merge the two menus and staffs.
Kendzierski, the current owner of the Ellicott Mills Brewing Company, called the merger of the two restaurants “a great fit.”
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“I haven’t been this excited in 23 years,“ he said. “My hope is that you’ll get the best of both worlds. It will be a blend of everything we do best from both places.”
Since the floods, Kendzierski, who opened the Ellicott Mills Brewing Company in April 1997, has made some adjustments to protect his property from future floodwaters. His property is higher up on Main Street and out of the main pathway of potentially surging floodwaters like those in the May 2018 flood.
“There’s only so much you can do with buildings that are over 100 years [old],” he said.
The Phoenix Emporium opened in July 1979, and Hemmis bought the restaurant/bar in 2001.
Starting Wednesday, Hemmis wrote, the Phoenix Emporium will operate both sites until the 8049 Main St. location closes.
“The excitement and the energy in the community indicates that it’s being well received,” Hemmis said. ”We have the benefit of the three-month transition to figure out where we want to take it.”