August 16th, 2011 9:30 AM by Eileen Denhard
One of Brighton's oldest buildings could soon be turned into a beer lovers' dream spot: a microbrewery with a German-style beer garden.
Northville resident John Becker and his son, Matt Becker of Brighton, want to renovate and expand the "pink hotel" building and open a microbrewery with a beer garden featuring wrought-iron fencing and a trellis adorned with flowers.
The businesses at 500 W. Main St., next to the railroad tracks, would be called Western House Brewery.
John Becker, who has spoken with local historians, said the building was completed in 1873, and it was originally called the Western House Hotel.
"It should be very attractive," he said.
Besides serving beer, he said the establishment would serve limited food such as pretzels and peanuts.
He plans to buy the building and oversee the renovations, and his son would own and operate the microbrewery.
"It's his dream to do this microbrewery," John Becker said of his son.
John Becker, chief executive officer of a company that designs and builds industrial equipment, said he's investing an estimated $1 million in the project. In addition to running J.L. Becker & Co., John Becker has built houses and subdivisions as a residential developer. If everything goes smoothly, he hopes the microbrewery could open by February or March.
"My goal is to basically to preserve the building," he said.
The microbrewery plans will be reviewed at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Brighton Planning Commission meeting in City Hall, 200 N. First St. If approved, the plans would be reviewed by the Brighton City Council at its Sept. 1 meeting.
"We're excited to get going," John Becker said.
He plans to install a two-story addition in the rear for bathrooms and an elevator. The first floor and second floor would have tasting rooms, and the 2,000-square-foot beer garden would be between the building and the railroad tracks. The basement would be used for aging and cold storage.
Becker said he plans to install new windows and gut the interior of the building, which has been used for office and apartments. He said all utilities would be placed underground.
"We're hoping it's going to be a big plus to Brighton and another reason for people to come to Brighton," he said.
John Becker said they selected Brighton because the city has invested in its streets and sidewalks, and that work has attracted a stream of restaurants to locate there. He said he's "very impressed" with downtown Brighton.
"You can see people are willing to invest millions of dollars in Brighton," he said. "You're not going to invest money in a city if you don't believe in it. Look at how many people are investing money."
In other towns, John Becker said, there's nothing happening.
John Becker gave credit to the City Council and Downtown Development Authority for investing in the city's infrastructure.
"They're investing in the future of the city," he said.