Grant to help convert Oshkosh auto shop into event space

Posted on Aug 1, 2020 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive
Posted by of Insight Publications

A $250,000 state grant will help transform the former Gibson Auto Body into a unique gathering space in downtown Oshkosh.

The Community Development Investment (CDI) Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) will support the preservation and renovation of the nearly 100-year-old former Gibson Auto Body Shop by converting it into the Gibson Social Club. The new development will be an event space for weddings, meetings and other social gatherings. The project is expected to be complete next year.

Purchased by Eric and Kristen Hoopman, the remodeling of the space will include the addition of a catering kitchen, bathrooms and three bars, including one on a mezzanine level. The entire space will be renovated and be available for large and small events. The new owners plan to highlight and preserve the building’s historical elements and beauty and will utilize reclaimed or salvaged materials in the process.

“We’ve been admirers of this historic space for a long time now and are thrilled to be able to help preserve it in a way where the community can enjoy it for decades to come,” said Eric Hoopman.

The project has the potential to be a catalyst for the success of the downtown neighborhood and the Business Improvement District. The city is looking at this project as a way to transform a traditionally industrial downtown toward a community focused urban core. When the venue opens, it’s expected to create 12 full-time jobs with a total of 20 people employed.