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Thursday, 08 March 2012 06:51

Grand Rapids Brewing Co. to open downtown

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GRAND RAPIDS — A major corner in Grand Rapid’s downtown entertainment district will soon get a new signature tenant.

Grand Rapids Brewing Co. will open in late summer as the anchor tenant of 1 and 7 Ionia Ave. SW, BarFly Ventures announced today. BarFly, owned by Mark and Michele Sellers, purchased the assets of the GRBC, formerly located on 28th Street, after it closed in 2011. The company had planned on putting GRBC in the Brass Works Building on North Monroe Avenue, but scrapped those plans earlier this year.

“Being at the corner of ‘Main and Main’ for the entertainment district is about as good as it gets,” Sellers told MiBiz.

BarFly plans to invest more than $1.5 million to renovate and combine what are currently separate store fronts in the Hawkins and Gunn buildings into a 10,000-square-foot space capable of seating up to 450 customers. GRBC will occupy most of the ground floors of both buildings. An event space in the lower level will be able to accommodate parties of up to 100 people.

Sellers said he is financing the project through Mercantile Bank and The Bank of Holland, as well as some self-financing.

BarFly has several other properties – HopCat, Stella’s Lounge, The Viceroy and McFadden’s – on Ionia Street.

The brewpub is an integral part of a $7.5 million “616 Lofts on Ionia” mixed-use project announced in early March by 616 Development.

BarFly is working with Lott3Metz Architecture to design the project. He expects to select a contractor within the month.

Sellers describes the concept as a “family-friendly” brewery in a historic building that he envisions as a “community gathering place.” He said he wants a very bright environment inside with décor and music that encourages families to visit for dinner or when they’re downtown for a game or a show. The eatery will have a signature entrée that is available in larger cities but not currently available in Grand Rapids, Sellers said. GRBC will not focus on barbeque, as he had previously announced.

The location has loading docks that open to a brick alley adjacent to Van Andel Arena. Plans call for adding overhead doors that will be opened in summer, as well as outdoor patio seating.

The brewing operation will make a wide range of beers onsite. Sellers said he’s still looking for a brewmaster for the brewery. The equipment will be on the main floor, visible through the windows from Fulton Street.

Overall, the project is expected to create about 60 new jobs, he said.

Read 3032 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 August 2012 11:40

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