ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local brewing company is planning a high-profile restaurant and beer garden project at a historic building on Central, right in the heart of downtown Albuquerque. A Corrales-based brewery, Ex Novo announced plans Thursday for a new taproom to be built inside the old Firestone building at 7th and Central.

The old Route 66-era building, which housed auto-care services for decades, has sat dormant since closing several years ago. Renderings of the future taproom show plans to retain the look of the vintage garage, while building a large patio seating area out front of the property.

Inside, the brewing company says it plans to build a full-service restaurant and a 21+ mezzanine “speakeasy” cocktail lounge, along with a café-deli concept. Ex Novo says the design plans are being completed by Albuquerque-based Modulus Design. The new business will be roughly 11,000 square feet and the whole project is expected to cost around $4 million.

“[We] hope to be able to finish this project in late 2023,” Ex Novo wrote in a message posted to Facebook. “We are so stoked to join others to bring activity and vibrancy to our downtown core – we feel this compliments our Corrales location so well.”

The brewery says it hopes to open for the 2023 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Roughly 40 people are expected to be hired to work at the facility.

Originally started in Portland, Oregon, Ex Novo is helmed by Joel Gregory of Corrales. Today, the company maintains a presence in both Oregon and New Mexico.

“I grew up in New Mexico, and always hoped to be able to come back,” Gregory said in a poste online, Ex Novo Brewing Founder. “I love the history, the story and the character of this building and am 100% committed to seeing downtown thrive. This is such a cool property, and after two years of dreaming and planning, it’s finally coming to fruition.”