After announcing plans to rebrand and open a taproom, Ghost River Brewing Co. now awaits a decision from the Center City Development Corporation about their allotted funding. The CCDC Board of Directors will meet next Wednesday, May 18, following recommendations from the Downtown Memphis Commission.
Ghost River could receive as much as $66,455 through a Storefront Improvement Grant, which can be applied toward exterior work that is visible to the public. A metal awning and new signage, upgraded windows and doors on the north side of the building, improved fencing and sidewalk repair, and an expansive outdoor patio will be covered under the grant. HNA Engineers and Warren Architecture will oversee the project. The work should take two to three months. Ghost River plans to begin this summer and hopes to open the tap room this fall.
The Downtown Memphis Commission said in a staff report that Ghost River Brewing Co., which has operated at the intersection of E. H. Crump Boulevard and South Main Street for the last 10 years, is a "major gateway" to the South Main Neighborhood. The area, however, is "nonactive in the evening hours with little to no pedestrian traffic." Such as recently opened Loflin Yard
, a renovated Ghost River Brewing Co. could drive foot traffic to the neighborhood and encourage other businesses to move into the area.
"Tap rooms are often powerful generators of evening activity and the Ghost River tap room will help attract Downtowners, other local residents, and tourists to a part of South Main that can seem isolated and separate from the more commercially vibrant parts of the neighborhood," the staff said in the report.
The specific scope of work will include replacing a deteriorated fabric awning with a metal awning over the tap room entrance on the north side of the building. A projecting neon sign in the shape of a lantern will be placed on the east elevation, while an open-face neon letter-set reading "Ghost River Brewing" will hang on the north elevation. Hand-painted lettering will be seen on the curved portion of the building as well as above the retail entrance.
Clear glass will replace the tinted windows along the east and north sides of the building. An emergency exit door that faces South Main Street will be replaced and a new door will be built at the main entrance.
Any deteriorated pieces of the existing 6 ft. iron fence along South Main Street will be repaired as needed. A new sliding gate will be constructed. Parts of the sidewalk surrounding the building will be demolished and improved, and a 5 ft. portion of the current parking lot will feature a new landscaping buffer along the outside edge of the fence line.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of the renovation is the expansive outdoor patio, which will be located on the north side of the building. The structure will consist mostly of steel posts and deck joists. Some posts will extend to a height of 10 ft. with hung string lighting. The deck's perimeter will be enclosed with partial-height wooden walls, dressed in yellow Cyprus siding. A ramp will provide handicap access to the patio. A lower patio, which will exist atop a concrete pad between the patio and parking lot, will be used for overflow seating.
"[We] believe that the proposed exterior improvements including window replacement, new signage, and an expansive outdoor deck will help transform the site from a simple manufacturing facility to a neighborhood asset and hub for community gathering," the staff said in the report.