Closed Firestone shop in downtown Albuquerque to become a microbrewery site

A closed Firestone service station in downtown Albuquerque that dated to the early 1930s will become the future site of an Ex Novo Brewing Co. taproom this fall.

Albuquerque-based Geltmore LLC, Ex Novo and a group of local investors on Thursday completed the purchase of the Firestone on Seventh Street and Central Avenue (aka Route 66) and will turn the 11,000-square-foot building into Ex Novo’s second New Mexico location, reported the Albuquerque Journal.

The group purchased the former tire shop from Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation, and between the building cost and renovations, they expect the project to cost $4 million. They expect to have the taproom opened by the 51st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this October.

“I grew up in New Mexico and always hoped to be able to come back,” said Joel Gregory, founder of Ex Novo Brewing. “I love the history, the story and the character of this building and am 100% committed to seeing downtown thrive. This is such a cool property, and after two years of dreaming and planning, it’s finally coming to fruition.” […]

The renovation of the building will include the taproom and restaurant on the bottom floor, with the top floor serving as a mezzanine lounge bar area. A café is also included in the project.

The other Ex Novo site is in Corrales, New Mexico. about 10 miles north-northwest of downtown.

Ex Novo Brewing announced the new location Thursday on Facebook:

Dark Side Brew Crew, an online newsletter about New Mexico microbreweries, interviewed Gregory about the project:

Besides just the size of the building, the potential for a sizable outdoor area was also crucial for Ex Novo in closing the deal. After all, the Corrales location is basically more of an outdoor than an indoor brewery space.

“What is now that parking lot, we’re going to do a little fence around, put a stage in, and a lot of covered seating, so that will be good for shade and also heat in the shorter months,” Gregory said. “I don’t remember how many seats are out there, over a hundred, for sure. It’s a good sized patio.

“We want it to feel (inviting). It’s good to have going down Central or anywhere that you want to bring activity to a place, for people to drive by and see people outside. It draws you in, makes you want to park, and walk around, and see what else is going on in the area. That’s hugely important for us to have that outside patio space. You asked what specifically about that building, that’s a huge thing. There’s not a lot on Central that has that potential for outside space.”

Downtown’s Firestone Complete Auto Care, which featured a lot of neon lighting on the building, closed in May 2020 due to “store performance” issues.

The shop had allowed Drifters Car Club of New Mexico to stage its Sunday night cruises and parade there.

According to the book “New Mexico: A Celebration of the Land of Enchantment,” the Firestone shop during the mid-1930s offered layaway for Christmas shoppers and female attendants.

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