Backers with enthusiasm for music, theater, and/or beer.
A resurrected gem of a building, an acoustically tuned music venue, a contemporary professional theater space, a new craft brewery, and an unbelievable number of awesome rewards!
The excitement of hearing a band in a really sweet space, the thrill of being part of the local arts community, and the camaraderie of being involved in one of the best neighborhood revitalization projects ever. We're crowd-funding this project because we want our lives to be this project, and we want to involve everyone. The funds from this will be going directly towards our redevelopment process - construction and equipment. We have a full business plan for operations and long-term development, but we need to open the doors first. While this is something we love, we're still coming at this project from the craftsman mindset, with a relentless focus on becoming the best space for artists, beer, and urban redevelopment. This is something we know we can do really really well.
Cincinnati needs some great performance spaces of this scale with good acoustics, nice amenities, and a centralized location. We are devoted to giving musicians, theater companies, dancers, filmmakers, and all other artists a place that is accessible to a mid-sized audience in a space that really lets them be creative. It is our passion to work with artists to get their work presented, and to provide the city with these essential cultural assets to share and bond over.
There are many cool old buildings in Over-The-Rhine that are ripe for redevelopment. This project tackles one of the biggest and best and creates an icon and landmark. We love that the neighborhood with the largest collection of historic Italianate architecture in the country is finally getting the urban redevelopment treatment. There has been great improvement and investment in the neighborhood in the past few years. We want to continue the trend by utilizing one of the trickier, more difficult building projects in the area, and anchoring another end of the community with our collection of mixed uses.
Grayscale Cincinnati will be a multi-use performing arts facility and craft brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio. For the past year, we have been working like mad to put all of the pieces together. We are redeveloping the Jackson Brewery / Metal Blast building from a dilapidated, vacant structure into a happening music venue, creative live theater, bar/lobby, and craft brewery. We're unbelievably excited to be working in Cincinnati's Over-The-Rhine neighborhood, to be situated within the fantastic Brewery Heritage District, and to be a feature stop on of the Brewery Heritage Trail.
This project is about us making something that the city needs and that we really want to do. We want to bring a super high-quality music venue to Cincinnati. We want to have a space for professional quality theater in a raw, intimate space. We want to make beer.
We want to bring this building back to life!
With our background and this building, we discovered that we can offer that and much more. Our business objectives are: 1) Launch a live music venue bolstered by innovative recording technology and digital distribution system. 2) Reinstate an operating brewery onsite to serve as a tourist destination and bar. 3) Create a multi-purpose theater space for live theater and other events.
The goal amount for this campaign is the bare minimum needed to combine with our own investment to get our engineers and designers paid and get the financing started for the whole redevelopment. Every dollar over the minimum helps us make this better and more sustainable. The current construction estimate is approximately $900,000. If we could reach that, we could open the doors next year without any debt - which would be a dream that would get paid back to you. Free shows, educational outreach, flying in bigger artists - all those things we want to do someday, could be done immediately. I'm so excited!
Please help us get there by contributing and sharing our campaign.
One of the key elements of our project is the historic rehabilitation of one of the key pieces of architecture and brewing history in our city. It is one of the oldest remaining brewery structures in Cincinnati - and we are honored by the stewardship of such a fantastic piece of history. Our goal is to rehabilitate the facility - repairing the old brickwork, cleaning and maintaining all of the structure, reinstalling windows that match the original facade, and generally keeping the industrial character and aesthetic of the entire site. And best of all, we're putting a brewery back inside!
The fact that we're adding in new cultural and entertainment facilities in this location is also a key factor of this project. We are heavily focused on enhancing the urbanizism of the city. By helping to reestablish central neighborhoods in Cincinnati, and creating density in appropriate locations, we can continue to build the entire region in a natural and sustainable manner. We want Over-The-Rhine and Cincinnati to be a destination for culture and brewing tourism.
We have experience completing projects of this type before. We already have partnerships with local construction managers, engineers, and artisans to bring the project to life. We will provide parking on site by regrading some additional adjacent parcels. We will run new utilities throughout the whole building. We will get this first phase of the facility up and running and then focus on expanding our mission and operations into the upper levels and basement levels in the future.
Scott Hand is a professional architect and planner with experience working on a variety of redevelopment projects. His specialty is performing arts and architectural acoustics. He has managed a small business, and has extensive knowledge coordinating teams. He has worked with many organizations to redevelop and relocate their performing arts facilities, including professional theaters, schools, universities, bars, clubs, music venues, and recording studios. Scott has also operated an independent record label focusing on digital distribution since 2001.
Dominic Marino is an award winning trombonist, composer, arranger, sound engineer, and music producer. He has performed around the world as a professional freelance musician with the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Bob Lark Alumni Big Band, Under the Streetlamp, Marie Osmond, and Royal Caribean Cruise Lines among others. In Cincinnati, Dominic has performed with top groups such as the Blue Wisp Big Band, the Cincy Brass, Tropicoso, the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the PsycoAcoustic Orchestra, Carmon DeLeon’s New Studio Big Band, the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, the Newbees, and many more. He is currently a professor for the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Jazz Department and a consultant with the Cincinnati School for Creative & Performing Arts.
What We Need:
The project is a complete update of the building. In its current state, it is a fantastic artifact, but it is unusable. We are partnering with a local developer to manage the basic shell and site of the facility - brick, roof, exterior doors and windows, parking, etc... We are directly responsible for the interior fitout, including doors, walls, finishes, utilities, lighting, and equipment. Together we are bringing the facility up to code and ensuring that it can function the way we like. As an architect focusing on architectural acoustics and renovations, Scott has been through this process many times for his clients. He completely understands the design, coordination, and financial issues involved.
History Of The Building:
(pulled from a number of historical sources) The initial brewery building was built in1859 by the Kleiner brothers. The Jackson Brewery was strategically built into the hillside to provide space underneath for the deep cave-like vaults used in the production of lager beer. George Weber gained control of the brewery in 1873 for $285,000. Under the ownership of Weber, the brewery saw its greatest success. In 1884, he incorporated under the name of George Weber Brewing Company. Under his presidency, the Jackson Brewery expanded its southern export trade and solidified distribution points in Chattanooga, New Orleans, Augusta and Nashville. By 1885 the brewery produced 100,000 barrels a year and employed 62 people.
In 1886, the brewery purchased two Pictet ice machines that allowed production of beer year round for the first time. Before this innovation, ice came from the Great Lakes or were cut in large chunks from the Ohio River and stored. Ice was used to regulate the temperature of the lager vaults. The building constructed to house the ice machines is now in ruins on the edge of the hillside in front of the remaining building. In the mid 1880s, Weber Co. advertised five types of bottled beer including a Pilsner, Rhinegold, Doppel-bier, Select and Export Beer.
The Jackson Brewery complex during the ownership of George Weber.
In 1889, a group of attorneys, Leo A. Brigel, E W. Kittredge and Laurence Maxwell, purchased the brewery for a mere $130,000 and reincorporated it. They brewed the profitable Jackson Pure Old Lager Beer. Unfortunately, brewing was stopped by prohibition in 1919. The brewery stayed open during prohibition by producing various non-alcoholic beverages and other products until the repeal. At some point ownership shifted to a local conglomerate and the name was changed to SquibbPatterison Breweries Inc.
In 1933, they began preparations for the installation of new brewing and bottling equipment to modernize operations at the plant. This required the construction of 1,000,000 cubic feet of manufacturing space and 350,000 cubic feet of storage space. The complete refurbishment of existing equipment including a new bottling unit, soaker and pasteurizers, filling, crowning and labeling machines, new condensers, water cooler and a new chimney on the main building. These included a new ice house at 218 West McMicken Avenue and bottling and shipping structures that incorporated the existing stock house.
The whitewashed post-1933 main building. The central bay has the inscription "Jackson Brewery Squibb-Patterson Breweries Inc. founded in 1862 modernized in 1933".
When Squibb-Patterison was unable to make the brewery profitable they sold the brewery to a group of Detroit investors who reincorporated under the name of Jackson Brewing Co. Unfortunately, the business closed without fanfare in 1941. All of the brewery equipment was sold off and the building was striped and emptied. Almost all of the windows were bricked up during the 1960’s riots. Since the demise of the Jackson Brewery, the building has been used intermittently by various businesses. One such resident was the Gibson Wine company that used the building for storage. Then the Cincinnati Metal Blast Company, who upped the power supply, did some major alternations to sections of the building including lowering the floor and raising the ceiling in the western bay. They also painted their logo on the building over the original Jackson Brewery sign which is why the building is commonly referred to as the Metal Blast building today.
Proposed Project Specifications:
1,800 sf Music Venue/sound stage - equipment and space designed to allow digital recording, streaming, and distribution of any performance. Estimated capacity = 300 people.
Includes acoustic tuning to allow the room to adapt to different music performance types. Ability to pack the house with standing room, or place cafe tables and chairs for a more formal, seated performance.
2,400 sf Theater - seating risers and a deep stage keep the room flexible but formal. 185 seats. 21'-0" x 32'-0" sprung wood stage.
Catwalk system for lighting positions and easy access to technical equipment. Direct loading path to get scenery onto the stage. Brand new LED lighting system, integrated audio system. Can be converted to a high-end cinema screening room by lowering the screen.
4,500 sf Brewery - a craft brewery (to be announced soon) will be producing beer on site. Classic and unique flavors. Grains, hops, yeast, water, kegs, and cans.
Support Spaces - Backstage, performer support, stage manager positions, audio control, public restrooms, box office, and sound-proof vestibules at the entry to each venue. Storage for both venues. Audio and video editing suite.
Lobby, Taproom, and Bar- Mingling space before shows, tasting room for the brewery, and a bar with one of the best views of the city.
We Need Your Help To Make This Happen:
The potential for this project to be a success is enormous. We can't wait to line up a fantastic calendar of artists, shows, performances, and beer. Please help us make this building into a city landmark. You're helping us get this project started. Your help is extremely important.
Thanks and appreciation to you in advance for your support and help!
Scott and Dominic and the rest of the Grayscale Team
There are a lot of rewards. We understand there might be a paradox of choice with such an overwhelming number, but we'll ask you to first think of your focus - musician, patron, contributor, student, art lover - and then see that there are a few rewards designed for each of those. If you have any questions about any of the items, please send a note!
SHIRTS AND POSTERS
Below are the mockups for the fantastic shirts and posters created by Cincinnati screenprinter Southpaw Prints. We partnered with them because of their experience in the neighborhood (have you seen their awesome I [heart] OTR shirts or their old SCPA building shirts and posters?) They have a style and attitude that matches our enthusiasm for the building, the project, and the community. If you're getting any of the other rewards, but want to add one of these, too, simply add the price of these to your pledge and make a note in the comment field. I will take care of you. The shirts are printed on 100% cotton fabric American Apparel shirts. We will send out a survey once the campaign finishes to get your shirt sizes and other preferences.
LOGO T-SHIRT by Southpaw Prints (at $28 level)
BUILDING T-SHIRT by Southpaw Prints (at $30 level)
We have a great lineup of the best music and drama teachers in the city. If you are interested in classes, we have a perk for learning from the best. Private lessons will be arranged with your and the teacher's schedule once the campaign is complete. Group classes will be available if you are interested in that alternative, also.
We've got the support of many local artists and musicians already. You can book a private one-hour show for you and as many friends as you like at our facility with any of the following artists. Below are a few samples from some of the MUSICAL ARTISTS that you can find as a perk to the right. The samples have been given to Grayscale for use in this campaign. The show be coordinated around your schedule, the venue schedule, and the band's availability. We plan on having our recording equipment up to capture it for you, also. This isn't a pre-programmed event - you can chat with the artist, make requests, have them practice a new song, or just let them rock/jazz/swing/soul/funk/etc out.
THE NEWBEES - "modern vintage" rock orchestra!
BAOKU & THE IMAGE AFRO-BEAT BAND - world music full of positive energy!
"Free Nigeria" from his album, Okodoro Oro
GOLD SHOES - unique and flavorful hip-hop outfit!
NATURAL PROGRESSION- smooth sounds from a R&B and Neo-Soul band!
THE FAUX FRENCHMEN - gypsy-jazz masters!
SAMBA JAZZ SYNDICATE - authentic Brazilian stylings by consumate jazz musicians!
PHIL DEGREG - legendary Cincinnati jazz pianist!
ALL-STAR BIG BAND - 16-piece Big Band made up of some of Cincinnati's finest musicians!
RICKY NYE - blues & boogie-woogie piano sensation!
500 MILES TO MEMPHIS - country and alternative/punk mashup
We can dream!
$550,000 - half of the project completely funded: we'll get a smaller bank loan, and be able to get this going much smoother. Every backer gets two additional tickets to any music show during our first year on top of your regular rewards.
$800,000 - two thirds completely funded: we'll get away with a really small bank loan and be able to provide lower prices. Every backer gets a $1-off Silver Card - good on every purchase of tickets, drinks, and events for one year!
$1,100,000 - whole project: brewery, theater, music venue happening right now with no financing. Lower prices for everyone, guaranteed! Every backer gets a $2-off Gold Card - good on every purchase of tickets, drinks, and events for two years!
$1,300,000 - Solar panels on the Grayscale roof! We'll power the facility with radiant energy from the sun.
$1,500,000 - We'll set up a $200,000 trust to continually bring students from local high schools in to learn performing arts. The trust will pay for all of their equipment and teachers - forever!
The renovation design, drawing, engineering, and most of the bidding are complete. Although this is our first time on this side of the table for a project this scale, this is not the first time going through this process. We're incredibly involved with this project, easily reachable, and 100% responsible. Your rewards will be promptly and responsibly delivered or coordinated upon completion.
There is a huge variety in the perks, but we have considered all of them carefully. Perks involving participation with our production schedule will be individually contacted and managed to ensure that you get what you're expecting and we get a chance to involve everyone.
Scott will be directly answering your questions. There will be no confusion.
If you want to grab more than one perk, just add the additional money into the pledge and write me a note via this website and I'll make it happen!
If you support this project you will receive your perks and our love!!!