The Grand getting a fresh coat of paint

Painter Mel Hoggy applies paint to The Grand while standing on a lift. The paint is industrial, and it helps protect The Grand from damage from the elements as a historical marker.

NEW ULM — The Grand is getting a fresh new coat of paint to keep the building safe from the elements.

The project started after approval was given from City Council at their September 5 meeting to close the sidewalk and four parking spots. Work is now well underway, as a Glide lifter brings painters to the front facade of the building and industrial paint is applied to the brick.

Programming Manager Tamara Furth said the paint is re-applied to the building every ten years.

“It’s scheduled maintenance where we paint the facade,” she said. It’s to protect the building and then to keep it looking nice. Even with the stone, it’s very soft. We have to keep it painted so it’s sealed and doesn’t absorb moisture. It is as much maintenance as it is cosmetic.”

On a building as historic as The Grand’s, consistent maintenance is to be expected. Furth said the stone the building is made of is porous. Absorbed moisture would seep into those pores and create potential damage and structural concerns.

The Genie lift holds Painter Mel Hoggy three stories high as he paints the left side of The Grand’s front facade. Plastic covers on the windows and ground ensure any drops of paint are contained.

This work comes as The Grand’s work on the backside of the building, started this summer, wraps up. Furth said as those projects come to a close more will be coming up in the future.

“In the back we had to remove all of the brick work and put a water barrier in. That work was neglected when it was first constructed,” she said. “That part of the building is done. We do have a number of other things to take care of. We have balconies in the back of the building. Next week we’re going to have cement layers here, and they’re going to put the balconies up. That’ll take a couple of weeks to get it all secured. Because of all the work done back there, the backyard is rough. We’re working with some local landscapers to redo the backyard.”

While the back is still a work in progress, Furth said the front should be good for a while besides some minor fixes.

The project is being handled by Reichel Painting. Painter Mark Kirchner said this has been a long-standing partnership, as Reichel handled the re-painting the past four times it was needed. Kirchner explained the process of working on the facade.

“We come in, we brush out the small cracks the restoration company didn’t fix,” he said. “Caulk those and caulk any transitions cracking or flaking. Then we put a bonding primer on top and two coats of[paint] are left on.”

Kirchner said the project is moving smoothly and should be completed within the next couple of weeks. The approval for blocking off the sidewalk and the parking spots lasts until September 29. Kirchner said the age of this building makes this project unique.

“Historic buildings you don’t always get the option to work on. I spent a lot of time out east and doing restoration on the east coast. It’s nice to be involved with [old buildings]. And Reichel’s, we did [the last] Happy Chef left. It’s nice to bring something back.”

Throughout the remaining construction, The Grand will be open normal hours and has a full slate of events. For more information, go to https://thegrandnewulm.org/


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