LONGMONT — Downtown’s going to be getting a new tenant — and a new art gallery.
Dave Iannazzo, owner of The Great Frame Up, is leaving his north Main Street location after nine years and moving into the ground floor of the Oddfellows building at 430 Main St. Expect the move to be completed by the end of next month.
“We needed to grow a bit,” said Iannazzo. “We wanted to be able to offer a space for local artists to market their work. We don’t currently have enough space in this location to do that.
“We kept looking more at that downtown area because there’s a lot going on there right now. There’s a lot of stuff art-related.”
A longtime supporter of local artists, Iannazzo said he will be building movable, three-sided partitions on which local artists can display their work. The 6,000-plus square feet at his new location will allow plenty of room for that and the retail space he needs for his business.
Currently, he has only limited space on the walls of his store where art can be displayed.
“We basically have three times the space,” said Iannazzo, who also owns The Great Frame Up stores in Boulder and Littleton.
On a recent afternoon, Pam Iannazzo was in the store, preparing for last Friday night’s ArtWalk. “We’re going with the theme of construction,” she said.
And for obvious reasons. Plaster that had been ripped from the walls covered the floor, exposing the original brick walls put in when the building was constructed in 1907.
Most recently the home of the Celebration Christian Church, the historic building housed a Hallmark store for years, and undoubtedly saw many tenants and many physical remodelings over the course of its 97 years.
“I think J.C. Penney — the guy — had a store here but it wasn’t a J.C. Penneys,” said Brian O’Hanlon, an Oddfellows member. The nonprofit group will continue to meet in the upstairs part of the building.
Two years ago, the Oddfellows — with financial assistance from the Longmont Downtown Development Authority — did a $130,000 renovation of the front of the building.
“It was intended to bring it back to look like the original architect had intended it,” O’Hanlon said.
Now, the same thing is happening inside. By the time The Great Frame Up opens late next month, the tin ceiling and hardwood floor will join the original brick walls.
“We’re doing the renovation out of our own pocket, and that was part of our deal with the Oddfellows — that we would restore it and bring it back to its original glory, if you will,” said Iannazzo.
With 14-foot high ceilings and a completely-glass front facade, the building will be one of Main Street’s standouts. That was what the Oddfellows were hoping for, O’Hanlon said.
“The church was a good tenant for us but they just didn’t make an economic contribution to downtown,” he said. “We essentially didn’t renew their lease so we could get a more compatible and contributable downtown tenant.”
The Iannazzos, who had looked at the Oddfellows building two years ago, negotiated the deal with O’Hanlon, and The Great Frame Up should be open just in time for Festival on Main, the annual downtown fair scheduled for the evening of Aug. 27.
“Because The Great Frame Up is making the initial investment, they will have first right of refusal on this space for many years to come,” O’Hanlon said.
Iannazzo welcomes local artists to contact him if they are interested in displaying their work in his store. He said he’ll continue to offer limited edition and original work from local and national artists, and of course, continue to provide his customers with the company’s framing and matting services.
Iannazzo said he’s excited about The Great Frame Up joining the arts-conscious neighborhood, which includes mud-luscious studios, The White Rabbit, the Muse Gallery and the Old Firehouse Art Center.
“The main reason for the move is it gets a little more centrally located to where the arts are in Longmont now, as well as it gives us the extra space,” he said.
Tony Kindelspire can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 291, or by e-mail at email@example.com.