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Bowstring Owners Purchase Building For Nearly $3M

By Audrey Elsberry, posted Mar 20, 2024
A band performs at Bowstring Burgers & Brewyard at 1002 Princess St. in Wilmington's Soda Pop District. (Photo courtesy of Bowstring Burgers & Brewyard)
After leasing for more than a year, the owners of Bowstring Burgers & Brewyard have purchased the building they've occupied at 1002 Princess St. in Wilmington's Soda Pop District for $2.8 million.

BowString Real Estate Holdings Co LLC, which is associated with Bowstring co-owners Matt Golden, Ben Yannessa and Brad Bowles, bought the property this week from Andrew Hewitt, under the company name Soda Pop Holdings LLC.

Hewitt, a real estate developer of the larger Soda Pop district, purchased the building along with surrounding parcels in October 2021 for $8 million, according to property records. The purchase also included properties at 921 and 920 Princess St. and various addresses on Chestnut and 11th Streets.

Bowstring’s leadership team inquired about purchasing the building when they signed their lease in the spring of 2022, Golden said, but buying was not an option at the time. The team received an email in the fall informing them that Hewitt wanted to list the property and asking if they would be interested in purchasing it. The Bowstring owners entered negotiations shortly after and closed on the property March 18, Golden said.

Since the taproom, restaurant and music venue opened in July, Golden and his team have poured at least $1.3 million into renovations and improvements to the space, he said. The 9,000-square-foot space was an empty warehouse when Golden’s team first leased it.

The $2.8 million purchase was facilitated with lending from First National Bank and Carolina Business Capital, Golden said.

“We’ve got plans to further develop the outside area to make it more useful to our customers,” Golden said. “We’re excited to grow with this area.”

There was little foot traffic in what is now the Soda Pop District when Bowstring first came to town, Golden said — besides Hi-Wire Brewing next door. Now, the area has been welcoming new businesses, including Bowstring's newest neighbor, Ibis, a coffee shop and bar across the street. Golden feels their location has become more valuable since they’ve opened, he said.

“It’s nice to see that area of town grow,” Golden said. “You go down there now on a weekend, and you see a bunch of people walking around, parking lots are full, streets are crowded.”

Bowstring's customers have created a growing demand for live music acts at its indoor stage venue, Golden said. National and regional touring music acts have been able to sell out shows there, and Golden wants to continue to offer an independently-owned venue for musicians where ticket prices stay low, he said.

He sees buying the Princess Street building as an investment opportunity to build equity in the neighborhood. He also sees it as an opportunity to make more changes to the space.

After recently constructing a pickleball court on the east side of the property, Golden wants to continue developing the lot’s outdoor space. He has plans to expand on outdoor live music offerings and to fence in a portion of the property.

“(We want to) make it a fun, family-friendly hangout spot,” he said, “where you can play a game of pickleball, you can have a beer and some food with some friends, you can listen to some music.
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