Sunday, August 13, 2000

Historic Sage Tavern to serve coffee

Starbuck's to lease; tenant sought for 2nd floor

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONTGOMERY — The Sage Tavern building on Montgomery Road, opened in 1816 as a coach stop, will soon become a frequent stopping point again — this time for coffee lovers.

        Patty May, co-owner of Ireland-May Ltd., a development company specializing in historic restoration and new construction, announced a lease agreement has been signed with Starbuck's Cof fee to locate a coffee shop on the first floor of the building.

        The exterior of the building has been restored by Ireland-May, the building's owner.

        The city bought the tavern building and three adjoining properties for about $430,000 in 1996. Ireland-May was named the developer last year, and the city turned over ownership of the building to the company.

        The tavern was named for Mary and John Sage, who ran it in the late 1800s.

        Work on the interior will start soon after a design is completed by Ireland-May, approved by Starbuck's, the city's Landmarks Commission (which oversees projects in the Heritage District), and city council.

        “Ireland-May has done an excellent job. The exterior of the building melds with the rest of the historic Heritage District. It complements the area aesthetically and is a fine addition to the down town,” said Frank Davis, Montgomery community development director.

        “We are so very pleased with this project. They have saved and restored a historic 1816 building in the heart of our community and our Heritage District,” said City Manager Cheryl Hilvert. “I also believe Starbuck's will be a fine addition to our business community.”

        Ms. May said restoration cost is expected to be about $500,000.

        “We have to wait for Starbuck's to help design the interior to meet their needs, but we will keep the four original fireplaces in the building,” she said.

        Ms. May said she anticipates Starbuck's will open in about four months.

        Starbuck's will locate on the first floor of the two-story brick tavern building and an adjoining one-story addition, all of which had been Barton's Bakery.

        Tenants are still being sought for the second floor of the tavern building, which is being converted to offices, Ms. May said.

        “This is the oldest building we have ever restored. Until now, it was an 1863 building we did in Buffalo, New York,” she said.

        Legend has it Charles Dickens stayed overnight at the coach stop in the 1800s.

        The tavern, hotel and coach stop were about 14 miles from Cincinnati — an average day's travel in the 1800s. The building housed the Montgomery Masonic Lodge from 1828 to 1832.

        The building was home to the bakery from 1959 to 1981, and before that, it housed the city's first self-service grocery store.


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