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Abilene City Council approves funds to transform old Matera Paper Co. building

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - The Abilene City Council has approved a big investment in what's left of an old building in Downtown Abilene, bringing what the city calls an "eyesore" to a new use.

Eighty thousand dollars can go a long way in transforming the skeleton of the Matera Paper Company into the new home of Sockdolager Brewing Company.

"We feel pretty dang lucky, it's a great location. The visibility is gonna be awesome. The chance to be a cornerstone business for SoDA District, the business that says, 'Hey, we're where SoDA District starts.' It will be huge for us," says Sockdolager Owner James Bridwell.

It's been a long road since 2012, when the building burned down, and more recently, since Tim Smith took over the property, trying to decide just what to do with a mostly clean slate.

"It's taken us about a year to solidify plans. It took a lot of time to make sure we're going to maximize the property. Our intent is to make this the cornerstone of the SoDA District," developer Tim Smith says.

This new build, the first in the area in decades, is an anchor to the growing SoDA District.

"I felt like, wow, we have the ability to take all these small projects and really make a difference, and create a district, so that's what we're doing," Smith says.

And what better to mark the move than a new brew?

"We've toyed around with some ideas of maybe making something special that we only sell in the taproom," Bridwell says.

There's still some time to see just what that new beer ends up being, but at least it has a new home to match.

We're still some time away from seeing the reborn "Matera Gardens," but the two Abilene success stories involved look promising.

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