WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — A new community gathering place is coming soon to downtown Warren.
Urban Tap is one of the businesses that received funding under the Small Business Exterior Grant program. It isn’t open yet, but will be a full-service restaurant, bar, micro-distillery and event center. It’s located right on East Market Street, between Vine Avenue and Elm Road.
Its owners, brothers Jesse and Matthew MacGregor, grew up in Warren and are excited to invest in the city’s future.
“Urban tap is gonna be the place for the community to gather. That’s our goal,” said Matthew MacGregor. “We’re gonna help bring people back to Warren and let people know how great Warren is.”
Their goal is to make it a new community gathering spot.
“We’ve all watched where Warren went in the 90s, and we’re all excited about where Warren’s going now, so it was the right time,” Matthew MacGregor said. “We think we’re on the front side of what’s going to be booming again in the future.”
The pair has already spent more than a million dollars on the business.
“With the outdoor venue, the firepits, the parking, the building next door, will probably run us approximately another million dollars,” Jesse MacGregor said.
Improvements to the building’s outside will be partially funded through a Small Business Exterior Grant.
“We plan on removing all the old brick, putting new brick, new sign awnings basically giving it, the front, a complete facelift that’s been needed on this building,” Jesse MacGregor said.
Urban Tap was one of 66 businesses awarded money in the latest round of funding. Warren Redevelopment and Planning Corporation is the grant program’s administrator. It’s an initiative aimed at making noticeable improvements to beautify small businesses across Warren and is funded with $1 million from the city.
In total, 114 businesses were assisted through this grant program. Take CBS Barbershop for example — they were able to purchase a new awning plus a handicap-accessible ramp.
“It really inspires from one business to the other to invest in their business and grow and so we’re really proud that we can put forth some funds to do that because after covid it’s really difficult to invest on the exterior when you’re trying to keep your employees,” said Melissa Phillips of Warren Redevelopment and Planning Corporation.
The MacGregors hope to open Urban Tap in early June.