Round Barn’s Niles brewpub project takes next step

Published 10:00 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

NILES — Plans for the Round Barn’s proposed Niles location continue to progress.

A Michigan beer, wine and spirits producer, Round Barn received Niles City Council approval on Monday for a tax abatement to rehabilitate the historic Grace United Methodist Church into a restaurant and a tasting room for Round Barn beverages. It will be Round Barn’s third location, the first in the Niles city limits.

The approved abatement will freeze the current taxable value of the property for the duration of 10 years, as it is estimated to cost over $1.3 million to rehabilitate and adapt the church to meet state restaurant and tasting room laws. Cornerstone Alliance provided guidance through the abatement process and was on-site during the commission meeting to answer questions.

“We are delighted Round Barn is growing in Niles,” said Niles Community Development Manager Ryan Millin. “This investment in the city is a wonderful addition supporting our economic development efforts. It is expected to add many permanent jobs when the restaurant/tasting room is complete, in addition to the jobs of those accomplishing the renovation construction.”

The abatement freezes the taxable value of the building and exempts the new investment from local taxes. The school operating tax and the State Education Tax  are still levied on the new investment. Once the terms of the abatement are completed the property will be reassessed, providing an increased tax value to the city.

“Niles is a great location to expand our operations and directly serve more people who enjoy our beverages,” said Round Barn Winery owner Matthew Moersch. “It’s a significant growth milestone for us. Cornerstone Alliance efforts were significant in facilitating the application process with The City of Niles and providing strategic guidance to support this expansion project.”

The property has a 61-space parking lot, with a property capacity estimated to be between 180 to 220 guests. In addition, the project is expected to create 40 to 50 jobs in the community. The site plan was approved in January by the Niles Planning Commission and the property’s zoning designation change from Low Density Residential to Office Commercial District was approved by the City Council in February.

Originally constructed in 1953 and located on the corner of Grant and Lincoln, the former church features vaulted ceilings, high arches, and stained glass. Moersch said Round Barn has already invested more than $20,000 into the project and believes the unique space is the ideal location for guests to gather and experience Round Barn’s highly acclaimed brand of hospitality. Moersch hopes to open Grant Street Pub in the summer of 2024.

“(Niles City Council) understands the value of encouraging business investment within the city, and how to make the process as smooth as possible,” added Cornerstone Alliance Director of Community Improvement Zach Vaughan. “Round Barn found a great location here in Niles and the City worked closely with us to develop a path toward project achievability. These collaborative efforts continue to prove Berrien County is a great place to grow business.”