After six years with Salt Lake City’s Redevelopment Agency (RDA)—including the past eight months as chief administrative officer—Justin Belliveau has announced he will be leaving at the end of the year to build a business from scratch: A craft beer brewery, which he and his two partners plan to locate at a yet-to-be-announced site on the city’s northwest side.
“I’ve been working on a business plan for two years. And as much as I’ve loved working for the city, this finally became real in the past two weeks,” he said. “There’s such an alignment of factors right now to go forward. But this an opportunity that will demand a full-time commitment, and this was the best decision to make.”
Justin cites his redevelopment work on the new Eccles Theater and the Regent Street revamp as highlights of his time at the city. “I’ve worked with such a great group of people—smart and dedicated people who are making Salt Lake City a better place. I’ve loved these [redevelopment] projects,” he said.
In her role as RDA Chair, City Council Member Lisa Adams said Justin will be missed.
“Justin’s leadership on the development of the Eccles Theater and Regent Street helped make our dreams for that part of downtown a reality. He’s a key player in whatever he is asked to do for the city. His departure is a big loss to the RDA, and we wish him well in his exciting new endeavors.”
As it turns out, brewing ports and pilsners—and finding the right location to do so—will dovetail with his redevelopment skills. “It’s of the utmost importance to my business partners and me to be doing this in Salt Lake City,” Justin said. We’re dedicated to revitalizing an existing building, probably a warehouse, on the west side,” he said.
“The burgeoning craft beer market in Salt Lake City, the changing demographics, the steady push to revitalize neighborhoods and business districts—all of it is really exciting.”
Mayor Biskupski praised Justin in accepting his resignation. “Justin has been a strong and steady director and dedicated to our city’s economic growth and vitality. He has made an imprint on our city and we will miss him,” she said. “But, at the same time I am excited for Justin’s future, and look forward to tasting his beer—he promised me a Belgian Dubbel.”
His two partners include a longtime friend with 15 years’ experience in home and commercial brewing, and aneighbor who has launched four successful local businesses.
Justin estimates it will take one to two years to get his brewery off the ground, and was partially inspired by entrepreneurs he has worked with in his role with the RDA, including the owners of Fisher Brewery, which is set to open soon in an RDA project area.
Justin said his brewery would focus on perfecting a taproom with a small food menu. Future plans include expanding into to-go sales.
“We want to create beer as a draw and a level of food to compliment the beer,” Justin said. “This will be a gathering place in a neighborhood. Being in a neighborhood, bringing people together is just very important.”