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Ragtag Cinemacafé renovating former bottling plant

Ragtag Cinemacafé renovating former bottling plant

Amid the dust and the din of demolition, the old Kelly Press building is being transformed into a downtown destination, the new home for Ragtag Cinemacafé, Ninth Street Video and Uprise Bakery.

The colonial red brick building on Hitt Street was built in 1935 and functioned first as a Coca-Cola bottling plant. Later it was the Kelly Press print shop. Under the direction of architect Brian Pape, the 10,300-square-foot building will retain many of its original architectural details as its function changes yet again. The renovation is expected to cost $80,000.

“Part of the challenge of this kind of project is keeping the costs low for the client,” Pape said of the project, which began a month ago. “This actually helps save money because you use the bricks and main supporting structure. Thus, it can be considered a sustainable resource, more of a green building.”

Pape was hired for this project because of his past work on historic preservation and his long association with the partners Ragtag and Uprise. He had worked on the design of Ragtag’s current building on Tenth Street and even evaluated this building as the price was being negotiated.

“You could say they are repeat customers,” he said.

Pape, who became an architect in 1974, said that early in his career he picked up the message that old buildings were worth saving.

“But it’s always a balancing act—keeping the old while you accommodate for the new,” he said.

According to the plans, the building’s exterior will stay basically the same, except that a large window will be turned into a front door. Another doorway will be placed on the Broadway side of the building, serving as an entrance to a patio.

Plans for the front part of the space along Hitt Street include a lounge and the new venue for Ninth Street Video. Farther back in the building Uprise Bakery will set up shop.

Ragtag plans to operate two theaters, one with more than 1,600 square feet and 125 seats and the other with 800 square feet and 70 seats. With couches and an intimate feel, this latter space will be similar to Ragtag’s current home—about 750 square feet accommodating 75 seats.

“We are bursting at the seams in our present space,” Ragtag’s co-founder David Wilson said. “And we are excited about creating an even better movie-going experience for our customers. Plus, we’ll finally be able to have Uprise and Ragtag together in one space, which was always our intention.”

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