Pinehurst Receives $200,000 Grant to Help Renovate Historic Steam Plant
The Village of Pinehurst has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the NC Department of Commerce’s 2011 Main Street Solutions Fund. The grant will be used to assist Railhouse Brewery renovate the historic steam plant building on Magnolia Road.
With a growing business and limited space, Railhouse Brewery, which is currently located in Aberdeen, took a look at the steam plant building as a possible site for relocation.
“The old steam plant has so much character that complements our business and has the space we need to expand our operations,” said Mike Ratkowski, co-owner of Railhouse Brewery.
Renovations to the steam plant should begin in the fall of 2012, with Railhouse Brewery opening its doors in Pinehurst in the spring of 2013.
“We would like to extend a big thank you to the Town of Aberdeen and our Aberdeen customers for the opportunity to establish Moore County’s first brewery,” Ratkowski said.
Assistant Village Manager, Natalie Dean, identified the Main Street Solutions Fund grant as a possible financial resource for Railhouse and completed the grant application that was filed in early January. “This grant makes the project financially feasible for Railhouse Brewery to acquire the steam plant building from Pinehurst, LLC and make the needed improvements,” Dean said.
As part of the project, the Village of Pinehurst will construct a portion of the public road called for on the steam plant site in the Village’s New Core Master Plan. The road construction will include off-street angled parking, brick sidewalks, street lighting, and landscaping.
The historic steam plant dates back to 1895 and is included as a contributing structure in the Village’s National Historic Landmark Designation. All improvements made to the building are required to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and the Village’s local historic district standards.
“We are very excited and optimistic about the opportunity to expand our operations in the Village’s historic steam plant and we look forward to working with Pinehurst to transform a vacant historic structure into something the community can be proud of,” Ratkowski said.
The $200,000 Main Street Solutions Fund grant was based on the number of new full-time positions added as a result of the project. Upon completion of the renovations, Railhouse Brewery will add eight full time positions to the local economy and the grant reimburses small businesses at a rate of $25,000 per full-time position, up to a maximum of $200,000.
The Main Street Solutions Fund’s purpose is to provide economic development planning assistance and coordinated grant support to designated micropolitans located in Tier 2 and 3 counties and to active North Carolina Main Street communities. The Village of Pinehurst is considered a micropolitan by the state’s standards, making the Village eligible to apply.
The grant program is intended to strengthen the local economy and its role as a regional growth and employment hub. This is accomplished by leveraging the state’s resources for small business development, spurring private investment, and providing economic development planning assistance and coordinated grant support.
The goals of NC Main Street Solutions Fund program are:
- To provide direct financial benefit to small businesses.
- To retain and create jobs in association with small business.
- To spur private investment in association with small business.
The steam plant renovation will be the first significant development to occur in the area identified in the New Core Master Plan that was originally adopted in 2005. That plan, which was developed with considerable public input, calls for the “adaptive re-use” of the historic steam plant.
“This project is exactly the vision for the New Core Area, which is now being referred to as Village Place. It includes the preservation of a historic building and the establishment of the first road to access the interior of the 19-acres studied in the New Core Master Plan. In addition, this project leverages state, local, and private investment in a way that should serve as a model partnership to facilitate local economic development,” Dean said.
For more on this story, please see Friday's print edition of The Pilot.
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