The group is finalizing the purchase of the Sonora Armory complex. Meet the new owners and discover their projects | News
The Sonora Armory is officially under new ownership, with plans for a partial opening later this spring.
Doug and Jenn Edwards, who previously operated two historic hotels and restaurants in Groveland, and their friends Rebecca and Jordan Barrows, are now the owners of the long-dormant multimillion-dollar commercial property after escrow closed on Friday.
“We are incredibly thrilled to open this magnificent building to the public,” said Jenn Edwards. “Our community has been waiting a long time to have dinner and a few drinks on the rooftop terrace, listen to live music and return to the Bourbon Barrel.”
Located at 208 S. Green St., the Sonora Armory was developed and previously owned by former residents of Twain Harte, Tracie and Doug Kennedy, who envisioned it as an entertainment hub for the city’s historic downtown.
The approximately 14,400-square-foot property includes ample indoor space, an outdoor cafe, and the Bourbon Barrel restaurant that the Kennedys operated from 2015 to 2017, when he purchased and renovated the building to make it what it is. it is today.
Doug Kennedy, who now lives in Florida and runs a company that creates video games, also announced the sale was closed in a Facebook post on Saturday evening, saying he and his wife are thrilled that the new owners and the community are coming. finally enjoying the installation.
“It is our hope and desire that everyone who has followed the progress of the project and my vision for the complex will support it with the same passion that I had when the complex was planned, and the passion that I continue to have for him today,” he said.
The new owners bring years of business and management experience, particularly in the hospitality and restaurant industries. The two couples also live in Sonora and each have two children under the age of 10.
Doug and Jenn Edwards arrived in Tuolumne County from Seattle in 2012 after buying the Charlotte Hotel, which they sold in 2019. They also bought and renovated the Groveland Hotel in 2017 before selling it the year last.
Jordan Barrows has worked as an executive chef for several Washington State breweries, restaurant consultant and private chef for over a decade. His wife, Rebecca, is a project manager at the EPA and will help manage the business side of the operation.
Rebecca Barrows said they recently moved to Sonora from Bend, Oregon, and are looking forward to helping the Armory become the boon to the downtown economy that many have been hoping for for decades. years.
“Our goal is for the Armory to be an anchor business,” she said while touring the property on Sunday with the Edwards and all of their children.
“It’s a risk to take something that big, but we have experience,” added Jordan Barrows. “We’re putting everything we have into this, as families and business owners.”
The group are currently shooting to open the beer garden and rooftop terrace to the public in early May, followed by other aspects of the business in the months that follow.
They plan to use the large indoor space that previously housed the now defunct Stage 3 Theater as a banquet hall for events such as weddings, auctions and conferences.
Another smaller room inside the building with a wall of thatched wooden barrel panels, which Kennedy originally envisioned as a gift shop, will be a private wine room for private dining.
The Bourbon Barrel will likely be the last room to open, the Barrows said, although a date has yet to be determined.
Jordan Barrows will serve as the Armory’s executive chef and design a menu described as “American-elevated”, with an emphasis on local ingredients.
“The food here will be very accessible and will offer something for everyone,” he said.
The two couples stressed that they were aiming for a family atmosphere in the various rooms of the property, with the opening hours of the beer garden tentatively set at 11 a.m. until 9 or 10 p.m. each day.
The group have been working on buying the property for several months, after Doug and Jenn Edwards sold the Groveland Hotel last year and showed the Barrows the real estate listing and photos.
They praised the Kennedys’ “incredible vision for space,” as well as the local contractors who helped design and build it.
“The building speaks for itself,” said Jordan Barrows. “It’s beautiful, unique and handmade.”
Sonora residents and business owners have been eagerly awaiting the Armory’s opening since Doug Kennedy first announced his and his wife’s plans for the space in March 2016.
Construction was completed in 2018, although it never opened due to the success of Doug Kennedy’s video game company, Studio Wildcard, which lured him to Florida. He and his wife also operated several other businesses during their nearly 20 years of living in Tuolumne County.
The new owners declined to discuss the amount of the sale, although the property was recently listed online with an asking price of just under $4 million.