The old Fenton Fire Hall will change hands, but will not likely change names.
The Fenton DDA selected Clarkston Union owners Curt Catallo and Ann Stevenson to renovate the old Fenton Fire Hall Tuesday and Catallo said the name will likely stick.
"The Fenton Fire Hall name was decided when it was carved into the facade nearly 100 years ago," Catallo said. "You do not mess with that. It was decided when the first stone was laid."
The Clarkston Union owners were selected over the other finalist Arbor Brewing Company owners Matt and Rene Greff.
Fenton's DDA voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of Clarkston Union. The DDA will provide Clarkston Union with a $100,000 financial incentive for leasehold improvements, said DDA Director Michael Burns. It will be the last money invested in the building, he added.
And Clarkston Union will have the option of purchasing the building for $1 after five years. The lease on the building, annually, is $1, Burns said.
This is different from the DDA's agreement with Michigan Brewing Company, which had to back out of the project. Michigan Brewing Company had a seven-year lease to purchase agreement with the DDA, and a $400,000 financial incentive, said DDA Chairman Craig Schmidt. The new agreement with Clarkston Union leaves Fenton DDA with $300,000 to invest in its Cornerstone Project, or another project, Schmidt said.
The two finalists for the old fire hall both knew about the decrease in the financial incentive going into the selection process, Schmidt said.
Catallo and Stevenson had always admired the old Fenton Fire Hall, but passed at the first opportunity to renovate the building, because of the economic downturn and the re-transformation from turning the fine dining Clarkston Café into the Union Woodshop. However, after the Michigan Brewing Company deal turned sour, Catallo heard from customers the building might be available again and put his name in the hat.
The plans call for an open fire pit kitchen and 60 beers on tap visible through a glass window. The menu would include the Union’s famous macaroni and cheese, customized with bacon and other items. It also plans to enlist a Michigan brewer to create a Fenton Fire Hall Ale and perhaps create a Fenton Fire Hall Cider and Fenton Fire Hall BBQ sauce.
Catallo said he has plans for a patio on the roof of the building, and a bar downstairs. Catallo said seating would be very communal. He said construction could be completed in six or seven months for $1.3 to $1.6 million.