A new brewery coming to Roosevelt Row will affect two galleries in the downtown arts district.
Megan Greenwood is opening Greenwood Brewery on Roosevelt Street, near Eye Lounge and the empty lot that’s home to a trio of shipping container galleries. The galleries aren’t closing, but important changes will soon be underway.
The brewery will be situated on land owned by artists and married couple Cindy Dach and Greg Esser. They’ve been instrumental in developing the Roosevelt Row arts district, including MADE Art Boutique, Eye Lounge, and the Five15 Arts collective that's now located on Grand Avenue. The MADE building factors prominently in the Greenwood Brewery project.
Part of Greenwood Brewery will be located inside a new single-story building, assuming needed variances and permits get approved by the city of Phoenix. It's planned for the dirt lot west of the MADE building, where a trio of shipping container galleries are located now. The galleries are programmed by Xico, which specializes in Latino and indigenous culture.
“We’re working with Xico to find a new place for the shipping container galleries,” Esser says. Years ago, he moved the galleries from the opposite side of the street to the dirt lot. “We always intended this as a temporary location.”
They’re still finessing the finer points of when construction will begin, and when the brewery will open. Greenwood says the new building could be done in August or September, but it may take longer for the whole project to come together. "We'd like to see it completed this time next year," Esser says.
The brewery will also have some space inside the MADE building, which includes not only the MADE Art Boutique that sits at the southwest corner of Roosevelt and Fifth streets, but also extends west along part of Roosevelt Street and borders the dirt lot.
That’s where changes to the Eye Lounge art gallery come in. It’s located in a part of the MADE building that’s being reconfigured for the bar portion of the brewery, which will seat 20 people. Eye Lounge will still have space there, but the gallery footprint will change. The space that houses Ben’s Bells is part of the brewery project, as well.
The brewery is just the latest change to happen in Roosevelt Row, where rampant development in recent years has significantly shifted the urban landscape.
A former artist space just east of MADE on Fifth Street was demolished in November 2018 as part of an ongoing project called The Blocks of Roosevelt Row. The Firehouse building was recently torn down as well, as part of the Ro2 development that has yet to take shape. And now, Revolver Records at Roosevelt and Second streets has announced that it will shutter after First Friday on February 1.
At this point, it's hard to know exactly when the shipping containers will get moved, or when Eye Lounge will be impacted by building renovations. Esser met with Eye Lounge artists over the weekend to talk about planned changes to the space.
More than 150 artists have been part of the collective through the years, including Brian Boner, Christopher Jagmin, Ann Morton, and Denise Yaghmourian. Several alumni have created significant public art installations and shown work in museums in and beyond Arizona. Current members include Kit Abate, Mikey Foster Estes, and Elizabeth Odiorne, to name a few.
Turns out, Esser has wanted to incorporate a brewery for some time. It’s a dream he shared years ago with a friend named Christoph Kaiser. Now Kaiser, principal for Kaiserworks architecture design firm, is spearheading the brewery’s design. Part of that process includes creating a cohesive look between the various components.
“We’re taking disparate entities and rebranding an entire section of the block to feel cohesive and homogeneous,” Kaiser says. Part of the design includes a beer garden, which will be a new outdoor space between the existing building and the new one. The new building will house the actual brewery.
The project came together by way of First Draft Book Bar, which is located inside the Phoenix location for Changing Hands Bookstore. Dach co-owns Changing Hands and connected with Greenwood last summer because First Draft started carrying one of her brews.
“We’re excited about the new brewery,” Esser says. “Our vision was always for this to be a diverse, walkable neighborhood with a lot of outdoor spaces and engagement with arts.”