NEGAUNEE — The U.P. could soon see a brand new brewery, as plans are on tap to make an old building new again in downtown Negaunee.

The Upper Peninsula Brewing Company takes its name from a historic Marquette County brewery that closed during prohibition. To go with the historic name, the brewery and restaurant will have a historic location — the Sundberg Block at the end of Iron Street. Plans to create an open-air courtyard in the building were inspired by a trip to Puerto Rico.

“I went into all of these old buildings. They’re built in the 1500’s, 1600’s. You walk into them, and you’re in the house, and then you walk in the next room, and you’re in a courtyard,” said Jim Kantola, who owns the Sundberg Block with his wife, Ann.

The building’s restoration was originally conceived as a combination of retail space and apartments, but Kantola says that idea was ‘just too big.’ That led to plans to serving food – and drink – at the location. He hopes that creating a new, family-oriented destination will further strengthen downtown business.

“The more people that we bring in downtown, the more businesses that can pop up, the more services that we can have. It all works arm-in-arm,” Kantola added. “I believe that Upper Peninsula Brewing Company could be that anchor that every town needs.”

There’s a lot to be done before customers will be having a pint at the Upper Peninsula Brewing Company. The owners are working on securing a loan from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to handle demolition inside the building, and they’re expecting bids back from contractors to do that work by mid-month.

They hope to be open during Pioneer Week next year.