New Ulm’s Grand Center for Arts and Culture hosted a beautiful, jam-packed Grand Opening on Friday, February 7th. This 3-year Engan Associates historic renovation project created a community arts and cultural center providing space to display art work, create music and art, and host cultural events.
In 2011, Engan Associates Architects began work on the project, teaming with a general contractor; mechanical, structural, electrical and engineering consultants; and an interior designer. The project was originated by Anne Makepeace and Phillip T. Gross, great-great-great-grandchildren of the first building owner, German immigrant Phillip H. Gross. The building had fallen into disrepair over its 156 years of life, and many decisions needed to be made about whether to repair existing building features or replace them with modern materials. Many hours were spent in discussion with the MN Historical Society to ensure that renovation work followed its guidelines for buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
Engan Associates helped the Grand secure $100,000 in Legacy Grant funds for the project from the Minnesota Historical Society. The firm also assisted the Grand in qualifying for historic tax credits, which paid for 40% of eligible construction costs.
The Grand Center for Arts and Culture now provides state-of-the-art gallery space; offices; studio space; a recording studio; music practice space; a yoga, qigong and dance studio; and an artist-in-residence apartment on the second floor of the building. The first floor’s Pepperboy restaurant and Grand Kabaret are sumptuous with eclectic art, warm colors, and the mouth-watering perfume of wood-fired cuisine. The newly-excavated and remodeled basement provides future space for a ceramics studio. The project also includes new ADA accessibility by the parking lot; a three-story elevator addition to the back of the building; and an outdoor deck providing performance and dining space.
For more coverage of this project, see the Grand’s website; “Grand Opening at Center for Arts” (New Ulm Journal, February 8, 2014); “Ribbon Cutting at the Grand” (New Ulm Journal, February 7, 2014); “The Grand Center for the Arts” (New Ulm Journal, January 26, 2014); and “New Ulm Arts Center Secures $100,000 Legacy grant” (Mankato Free Press, January 27, 2012).