Ames Main Street (AMS) was awarded a $75,000 Challenge Grant through the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Main Street Iowa during a ceremony in Des Moines Thursday, November 8. The grant will be used to add a four-season rooftop bar to Olde Main Brewing Company (OMBC), 316 Main Street. “I have lived in Ames my entire life and owned businesses on Main Street for 30 years,” said Scott Griffen, OMBC owner. “I am very excited to invest in the heart of my community and provide a unique dining venue which will attract hundreds of people to downtown Ames, every week.” This $1.1 million project, designed by local architect firm Avec Design, will add a 4,000 square foot rooftop bar and restaurant to the existing building. The design includes operable windows along the north side, which will raise up creating an “open air” rooftop during warm weather, and close during cold weather. Once complete, Griffen also anticipates adding 20 new employees to work the additional space. “The popularity of roof top venues has increased considerably over the past 5 years,” said Cindy Hicks, AMS Executive Director. “Having such a venue in downtown Ames will create a destination location in the heart of the Ames community.” The building at 316 Main Street was built in 1930’s and occupied by Woolworths until 1971. A $2 million rehabilitation and conversion was completed by Griffen in 2004 to the current use as a restaurant. Great care was taken in preserving the existing advertising on the interior brick walls that predated the 1930’s. Dan Culhane, President and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce, points out the Olde Main Brewing Company has been an anchor in downtown Ames for many years, long before the craft brewing craze started. He is excited to see Griffen once again investing in the business and the downtown district. “Olde Main has provided an outstanding venue with tremendous products and service over the years,” Culhane said. “This project will greatly enrich our community and ultimately be a major catalyst for Ames.” Ames is one of 13 Main Street communities to share in nearly one million dollars made available by the IEDA for Challenge Grants this year. This is the sixth time in seven years the AMS has received this grant, bringing a total of $403,000 to preserve or renovate buildings in our historic downtown. “Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match for each of the grants,” said Main Street Iowa State Coordinator Michael Wagler. “These projects will have a significant economic impact within each district and they will have a direct impact on each community’s downtown revitalization efforts.” Griffen says if everything goes smoothly, the work should start in Spring 2019, and be complete by the end of the year.
Ames Main Street was established on January 1, 2009. Its mission is to advance and promote downtown as the destination district in the heart of our community. To keep updated on AMS happenings, become a fan of Ames Main Street on Facebook, bookmark www.AmesDowntown.org, or contact our office at 515- 233-3472. AMS is an affiliate organization of the Ames Chamber of Commerce.