Moerlein Lager House will open next year

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Construction of an 1,100-seat microbrewery and restaurant planned for
Cincinnati?s riverfront is expected to begin this fall with plans to
open the venue by August next year.

On Wednesday, developers released new renderings and its lineup of
local business partners for the Moerlein Lager House, a two-story, $4
million restaurant planned for the first phase of Cincinnati
Riverfront Park.

?Our mission is to breathe new life and vigor into the grand brewing
tradition that made Cincinnati one of the world?s greatest brewing
meccas over a century ago,? said Greg Hardman president and CEO of
Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.

The company has tapped the Cunningham Restaurant Group to serve as the
Lager House?s chief operator. The Avon, Ind,-based firm operates Stone
Creek Dining Co. restaurants in Montgomery and West Chester.

The menu is still in the final stages of development, said Tom
Cunningham, a Cincinnati-native and executive partner of the
restaurant group. His team envisions a blend of classic and
contemporary fare that will include rotisserie meats, grain-spent
breads, stews, salads, a full delicatessen menu and signature Lager
House appetizers.

The hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through
Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

? Photos: New Lager House drawings
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Mount Adams-based architectural firm Tilsley and Associates designed
the 15,000-square-foot restaurant, which will be built on Main Street
and bordering the new park?s event lawn above a public parking garage.

The building?s exterior will be built with steel and glass ? featuring
expansive windows so patrons can take in views of neighboring stadiums
and the Ohio River. Inside the firm is using brick from former
breweries, stone and wood-beamed ceilings,

?We wanted to conceive an almost unexpected, iconic building that
would convey both a sense of our region?s future and honor for its
past,? said Greg Tilley, the firm?s founder.

Inside, the restaurant will seat up to 500 and include space for
banquets and private meetings. A handful of rooms will be dedicated to
Cincinnati?s brewing heritage, which dates back to the mid-1800?s when
German immigrants including Christian Moerlein established breweries,
hundreds of saloons and bottling operations across Over-the-Rhine and
the West End.

Outside, plans call for seating for up to 600 in outdoor beer gardens.

Leading the facility?s construction is West Chester-based
Schumacher-Dugan Construction. The building will include a green roof
and sun-shading interiors. It will include a geothermal heating and
cooling unit. Schumacher-Dugan said it will strive to have at least 30
percent of the work on the project involve small business enterprises.

In part, the project has become a reality thanks to the engagement of
Cincinnati Growth Partners, a Lincoln Heights-based investment banking
firm that helps private companies raise capital and develop growth

The firm helped raise the capital for the project and execute
agreements between Moerlein Brewing and the Cunningham Group.

It also helped negotiate a 40-year lease between Moerlein Brewing and
the Cincinnati Park Bboard, which Cincinnati City Council approved
late last month. The city will retain ownership of the restaurant

When it?s finished, the facility is expected to begin brewing 5,000
barrels of Christian Moerlein beer a year. Tours will be offered of
the microbrewery and heritage rooms, where guides will highlight
Cincinnati?s brewing past and its beer barons of the 19th century,
Hardman said.

Since 2004 ? when Hardman first purchased the Christian Morelein brand
? his firm has worked to revive iconic Cincinnati beer brands
including Burger, Hauck, Hudepohl, Hudy Delight, Hudy 14-K, Little
Kings, Red Top and Windisch-Muhlhauser.

At the lager house, Moerlein?s craft beers will be offered as well as
guest brews, Hardman said.

Up to 200 jobs ? of which 150 will be full time ? are expected to be
created by the project along with more $50,000 in annual earning tax
is earnings tax revenue. Another 150 construction jobs are expected to
be created.

?We?re looking forward to being an excellent ambassador for our city
worldwide,? Hardman said.

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