The Free Press, Mankato, MN


February 6, 2014

$2.4 renovation complete at Grand in New Ulm

NEW ULM — The building at 210 North Minnesota Street has had many lives.

Built by German immigrant Phillip Gross in 1856 as the Grand Hotel, it was used as a hospital during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and later became the Union Hotel. After the building fell into disuse as a hotel, it was employed as a boarding house and then as commercial space for a coffee shop, radio station and framer.

Now, after four years of planning and $2.4 million in renovations, the Grand Hotel has now been fully transformed into the Grand Center for Arts and Culture. Members of the public and potential tenants are invited to an open house 6-10:30 p.m. on Friday. The event includes tours from 6-9 p.m., appetizers and live music from the Scottie Miller Band from 7:30-10:30 p.m.

"It's exciting to be finally opening the doors," said Lisa Rieke-Knaak, executive director of the GCAC.

Anchoring the space are Pepperboy Restaurant and the Grand Kabaret, the latter of which has been hosting Friday and Saturday concerts throughout the renovation process. The GCAC will also include seven artist studios converted from old hotel rooms — each with natural lighting and original doors — and a full recording studio run by Mark Martinez. Rieke-Knaak said the GCAC received the piano for its practice music room this week and that the healing arts studio is already hosting yoga classes.

Though nothing is housed in the basement yet, Rieke-Knaak said that space will likely be used as a ceramics or printmaking studio. She said the GCAC is also forming partnerships with other community organizations for further uses, including the New Ulm Actors Community Theatre and the lifelong learning organization CASTLE.

Rieke-Knaak said the GCAC is still trying to raise the final $200,000 needed for the project through its capital campaign. For more information about donating, the open house or renting space, please call 507-359-9222 or email

Tanner Kent

If You Go What Open house for Grand Center for Arts and Culture When 6-10:30 p.m. on Friday. Tours from 6-9 p.m., live music from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Where GCAC, 210 N. Minnesota St.

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