Historic Nevada Journal building gets $100k grant, likely to become a microbrewery or restaurant
The iconic Nevada Journal building downtown is getting a $350,000 facelift in hopes that it will be a future brewpub or restaurant.
The project recently received a $100,000 Main Street Challenge Grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
Nevada was one of 13 Iowa communities to receive a total of $1.2 million for Main Street district projects.
The building at 1133 Sixth St. is one of the features of the Nevada Downtown Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
“What’s cool about this plan is the upstairs space is being redone so that it’s inviting and ready to go for a microbrewery or restaurant. Those are what we’re targeting for the space,” said Henry Corbin, director of Main Street Nevada.
Main Street Nevada and Nevada Economic Development have each independently identified a brewery as something the community wants, Corbin said.
Building owner Tom Richards, who also owns Richards Carpentry and Woodworking, explained that the main part of the building is divided into two spaces — a small area in the front that was the business office of the Journal and a large area in back that was home to the newspaper press and production department.
“The whole paper was done here in this building,” Richards said. “The front portion has a fancy metal ceiling and a walk-in vault.”
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An archway that goes almost entirely to the ceiling and sidewalls divide the back portion, which has a ceiling of tongue-and-groove wood.
“Our architect also did Exile Brewery down in Des Moines, and he said he thought this could be a great space for a microbrewery,” Richards said. “Turns out that’s in the Nevada 2050 plan, so that idea took off running.”
The renovation will also fix up the back yard of the building to create a space for seating and a public entrance.
Built in 1910, the building was the longtime home to the Nevada Journal, and “Journal” is carved into the stone on the facade. A financial services business is the current tenant, and the renovation has plans to keep that company in the building, moving it to remodeled offices in the basement.
“The current tenant has been a longtime renter for the building owner, so we wanted to take care of them, and we’re redoing the entire basement of the building,” Corbin said. “We’ll be turning that into new offices with transom windows and light coming in to give them another space. We didn’t want to lose them in the district.”
If Richards has his way, the skylight on the roof of the building will be opened up to stream to the basement, too.
“There’s a large skylight in the center of the building, and it’s been covered over,” Richards said. “We intend to restore that. If the state historic preservation office will allow it, we intend to open the floor on the main level directly under that skylight so that the sunlight can shine down into the basement. I’ve done projects like this a time or two to have sunlight shining on a basement floor. I just think it’s really cool.”
More offices will be available in that basement space, and Richards would like to see a Nevada-centric multimedia company use that area, an homage to the building’s early life as a newspaper office.