ALLOUEZ, Wis. (WBAY) -- Zambaldi Beer in the Village of Allouez opens its doors to the public for the first time.
After more than three years of planning and construction, village officials hope the craft brewery can kick-start more development in the area.
As Action 2 News first reported in October 2018, a comprehensive plan hopes to create a village center on Webster Avenue. Located near Kalb Avenue, Zambaldi Beer is on the northern edge of the area outlined in the plan which stretches south to St. Joseph Street.
A lot that stood empty for 15 years along Webster Avenue is now the site of the new brewery.
"We've been moving all this furniture and all of this equipment in, and it still kind of feels like it's not quite real yet," said David Malcolm, founder and brewer at Zambaldi Beer.
The craft brewery welcomes the public inside on Tuesday night for a grand opening. It is a moment the Malcolms have dreamed of for more than a decade.
"We are delighted to create a space in this community. We live really close. This is truly our neighborhood," said Abigail Malcolm, general manager and co-owner of Zambaldi Beer.
The new addition to Allouez helps to answer a question village officials find themselves wrestling with time and time again.
"How can we bring in the types of businesses and entertainment venues that village residents can enjoy close to home versus going somewhere else?" asks Jim Rafter, village president.
It is another piece to the puzzle in a long-term comprehensive plan to grow as a village. Rafter sees Zambaldi Beer as a way to not only attract more people but also developers to the area.
"We have several blocks on either side that we have an opportunity to redevelop, and you need something to get it kick-started to create the excitement," said Rafter.
He says it is going to take time, toasting the craft brewery's grand opening as a step in the right direction.
Right now, Rafter tells Action 2 News there are "a lot of balls in the air" with no other developments set in stone at this time; however, he sees potential with some locations like the former Huntington Bank building now up for sale next door to Zambaldi Beer.