Civic agency backs West Side beer garden

Civic agency backs West Side beer garden

The Sovengard plans to make use of former shipping containers that will be renovated into seating areas in the beer garden. Courtesy Rick Muschiana

The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority has approved a grant for a beer garden on the West Side.

At Wednesday’s DDA meeting, a request for a Building Reuse Incentive Program grant was approved for The Sovengard, the Scandinavian-inspired restaurant and beer garden planned for 443 Bridge St. NW.

Former Brewery Vivant and Virtue Cider employee Rick Muschiana announced the project last summer and hopes to open this summer.

The grant will reimburse some of The Sovengard’s estimated $750,000 redevelopment project at the site, up to $72,050, for eligible activities, such as barrier-free improvements and a fire-suppression system.

The project will incorporate reclaimed materials, LED lighting, solar panels and insulated windows.

The project also includes the renovation of basement space and a beer garden with seating for 124 people, bocce courts and a music pavilion.

The grant can only be used on the two parcels occupied by The Sovengard that sit within the DDA boundaries, as two other parcels occupied by the project are outside of the boundary.

The Sovengard's food menu will largely be based on Scandinavian culture, and the business will have an extensive drink menu.

“We want to preserve some green space in an urban environment,” Muschiana told the Business Journal last year. “We want this to be a gathering place for the community, a place you can step away for a couple of hours and feel you’re in the garden.”

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