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WATERLOO | A state grant will help Single Speed Brewing to include solar energy panels in its renovation of the former Hostess Wonder Bread building.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority this week approved a $75,000 Main Street Iowa challenge grant to the planned project at West Third and Commercial streets in downtown Waterloo.

Single Speed's project was among 14 challenge grant totaling $924,000 awarded by IEDA to help fund revitalization projects and create jobs in Iowa's historic main streets.

The city of Waterloo approved a development agreement Sept. 8 with the Cedar Falls-based craft brewery for a $4 million restoration of the vacant and historic Wonder Bread bakery as a production brewery, restaurant and retail space.

Single Speed founder Dave Morgan said Main Street challenge grant is expected to help the project meet "green" building standards.

"We are pursuing LEED (U.S. Green Building Council energy efficiency) certification for the building and solar is a portion of that plan," Morgan said. "This grant allows us the flexibility to replace the roof in its entirety versus the short-term solution of patching and repairing."

The grant will help add structural support, if necessary, for rooftop solar arrays, he added.

Along with the LEED certification, Single Speed also is working to meet historic renovation guidelines for the property. The city of Waterloo has designated the property as a local historic landmark.

Main Street Waterloo submitted the challenge grant application on behalf of Single Speed. This marks the third consecutive year, the local downtown revitalization organization has secured an award.

"At the risk of oversimplifying it, we’ve been very blessed to have good projects occurring within our district," said Jeff Kurtz, Main Street Waterloo executive director. "It makes our job easier when we are pitching something so worthwhile."

The city acquired the bakery, built in 1927, after Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy in November 2012. A grassroots campaign formed to advocate for restoration and reuse of the building over potential demolition.

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Waterloo City Reporter

Waterloo city reporter for the Courier

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