Robber's Cave in southwest Lincoln is a time capsule covered with carvings, three dating back to the 1800's, according to the general contractor who will be building a brewery at the location and cleaning up the cave.

Sam Manzitto, the contractor for the Blue Blood brewery, tap room and restaurant that will be built near Robber's Cave, told the Lincoln City Council this is his first project that includes a cave.

The cave is part of Lincoln's history, first used to store beer about 150 years ago and a favorite place for Lincoln teens to visit, until it was sealed in 2000.  

Once again allowing public access to Robber's Cave is one of the reasons the city has agreed to provide $130,000 in tax increment financing to the developer, said David Landis of the city's Urban Development Department during a Monday public hearing on the redevelopment agreement.

The council is expected to approve the redevelopment agreement, including the TIF funding, at its May 4 meeting.

As a part of Lincoln's history, public access to the cave is written into the redevelopment agreement, Landis said. 

Brian Podwinski plans to build his Blue Blood Brewery near Robber's Cave, located south of 10th and Van Dorn streets, and to use the cave for storing beer. The cave will also be open for public tours and available for private events.

Under the redevelopment agreement with the city, Podwinski will have to restore the cave, including putting in permanent lighting and a ventilation system, and open the cave to the public.

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"We will make sure we take care of that cave as best we can," Podwinski said at the hearing.

The development, including a 12,000-square-foot building, is expected to cost about $1.7 million, including TIF funding of $130,000. TIF will be used to buy the land and pay off bond costs and some fees, based on the redevelopment agreement.

Without the TIF funding, Podwinski said he couldn't build the brewery.  

The new building and land is expected to be valued for tax purposes at around $725,000, much higher than the current $83,600 value of the undeveloped site.  

TIF uses the property taxes paid by the owner on the difference between the current value and the value after development to fund a 15-year bond.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or

On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.



Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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