This week the family of Phillip H. Gross, the original builder of the Grand Hotel, gifted The Grand Hotel Building at 210 N. Minnesota St. to a new entity that includes the nonprofit Grand Center for Arts and Culture (GCAC.) The building has been owned by the Gross/Makepeace family since 2000 and is now being developed into a four-story arts and cultural center for the residents of New Ulm. The development is underway and will include a three- story addition with an elevator to all four floors, live performance space on the first floor in the Kabaret, artist studios, a community gallery funded primarily through the New Ulm Area Foundation, music lesson space, a recording studio, arts and cultural education space and space for the healing arts, such as yoga.
"The development of my ancestor's building into a community space has been my dream since we purchased the building 11 years ago," said Anne Makepeace, fifth generation descendant of Phillip Gross. "We have done our homework and believe there is a need for this type of community space in downtown New Ulm. We expect that the building will be full of life and be a vibrant part of Mainstreet, just like the building was when it was one of the city's premier early hotels."
Several other organizations have provided support for this project, including the New Ulm Actors Community Theatre acting as a special consulting partner and Citizens Bank Minnesota which will act as a partner and conduit for state and federal Historic Structure Tax Credits. Through the unique partnership with Citizens Bank of Minnesota, the GCAC will qualify for State and Federal Historic Structure Tax Credits of $455,000. This is a major cornerstone to the fundraising efforts that will continue this fall and winter. The total costs of the project are expected to be approximately $2 million with an estimated completion date of fall 2013.
Anne Makepeace, third from left, announced Thursday that the Grand Hotel has been gifted to a new entity that includes the nonprofit Grand Center for Arts and Culture (GCAC.) Individuals involved with the project include Paul Warshauer, left, NUACT executive director; Lou Geistfeld, second from left, president of Citizens Bank Minnesota; and Dick Kimmel, right, board chair of the Grand Center for Arts and Culture. NUACT is a partner in the project as a consulting nonprofit due the performance arts piece of the project. Geistfeld recently presented a check for $250,000 to Makepeace as the first installment of the $455,000 tax credit amount that the Grand is going to qualify for with the partnership of the bank.
Citizens Bank Minnesota President Lou Geistfeld said, "We were pleased to be able to assist the Grand Center for Arts and Culture in obtaining the Historic Preservation Tax credit monies. Not only are they restoring a beautiful old building that has historic significance, they will be providing a home for local artists, actors and musicians to develop and display their talents. The restored building will be a regional hub for arts and culture and will draw many people to New Ulm - people who will also shop, eat and sleep here. We think it will be a great attraction for our community and are grateful that we have the talented and motivated people in this community willing to take on such an important project."
The original Grand Hotel was built in 1856 by Phillip Gross and re-built twice on the same site. The current structure dates from 1875 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its historical and cultural significance makes the beautiful three- story building the perfect home for the proposed arts and cultural center.
The Federal and State Historic Structures Tax Credits are in place to encourage the development and re-use of historic structures, thus generating jobs and economic development in communities across the state and country. In order to obtain Historic Structures tax credits, the GCAC needed to partner with a profitable C corporation or other entity. Because Citizens Bank Minnesota is a privately owned company whose stock is widely held by residents of the New Ulm Area, it is a C corporation that qualifies to participate in this community development project. This coupled with the fact that it is the only bank charter with its home office in New Ulm, made Citizens a logical choice to get involved with this project.