Construction to begin soon on remaking of Newberry building into a brewery, restaurants and apartments
Sometime in 2017, there may be beer on tap in the former JJ Newberry building on Main Street, Downtown Batavia.
Matt Gray (top photo, pointing toward the back of the room to his partner in the Batavia Brewing Co. venture, Jon Mager) made the announcement during a Start Up Genesee event at the location yesterday, and said that the Fresh Labs concept for the Newberry building is ready to go forward.
The blueprints are in place, permits pulled and a contractor selected and Gray believes all of the work -- a brewery, a restaurant and two additional full kitchens for start-up restaurants along with seven apartments on the second and third floors -- will be completed by the end of the year.
The Fresh Labs concept was taken on by Gray and Mager in cooperation with the Batavia Development Corp. to help achieve several local goals, he said -- bring more people downtown, provide a way for aspiring restaurateurs to start their businesses and help the city retain some of the $28 million being spent by local residents on food and entertainment in Rochester and Buffalo.
Gray said Fresh Lab will give people looking to break into the restaurant business a supportive environment throughout the process of developing a concept, getting it launched and helping it grow.
"We want to take the person who has the drive and the skill and work them through the point where they're ready to launch," Gray said. "We will give them direction and resources but then we don't walk way."
Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator for BDC, said the BDC is working on a competition, sort of a taste challenge, as part of selecting the first two businesses that will be given space in Fresh Lab.
The building, which was a mortuary before it was Newberry's (it was Newberry's for 70 years), is three stories high with a large basement. Each level is 10,000 square feet. There will be seven studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors. Those floors were once office space for doctors, lawyers and at one time, Batavia Area Jaycees, according to the sign on one door.
Start Up Genesee is organized by Genesee County Economic Development Center and this was the initiative's third event. Bob Capurso was at the first, where he spoke with Chris Suozzi about the business idea he had: producing Boy Scout grave marker medallions. Suozzi, a VP with GCEDC, helped connect Capurso with advisors who were able to assist him in getting his business launched. He's gone from a concept six months ago, to a design to a prototype and now he's had the first 50 medallions produced and ready for sale.
“My main goal on this is not to make a ton of money on this, but to get the commemoration out there to the people who earned it through their dedication to scouting,” he said.
Another local start-up at the event was Eichenfeld LLC, makers of the game MöbileSchlägen. The company will hold a Kickstarter fundraising campaign this Saturday at City Slickers starting at 7 p.m.