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Fenton DDA Approves Agreement for Cornerstone Project Developers

The Cornerstone Project plan calls for a four-story building consisting of approximately 47,000 square feet.

Officials took another step toward making the a reality Tuesday.

The Fenton Downtown Development Authority approved a pre-development agreement for the planned  with Michigan-based Corlin Builders, Inc. (formerly ) at its meeting. The Fenton City Council will also have to approve the agreement and is expected to address it at Monday's meeting.

The non-binding agreement is to allow architectural plans to be more defined. The agreement calls for a total of $77,000 to be spent on architectural drawings, $61,000 for Stephen Auger and Associates Architects of Lake Orion and $16,000 for OHM Engineering. The DDA will also cover the cost of an apartment rental feasibility study.

"This is another big push in momentum," said Ghassan Saab, who is leading the development. "It's starting to be a reality. We are getting to the meat and bones. We can do a lot more now."

Saab said the next step is working with architects and creating buildable drawings to come up with some accurate prices.

The $4.7 Cornerstone Project plan calls for a four-story building consisting of approximately 47,000 square feet and including the following:

  • First floor shall be limited to restaurants and retail stores.
  • The second, third and fourth floor shall contain 21-30 loft style apartments.
  • The exterior will be mainly brick, limestone/architectural cast stone and glass.
  • Restaurants are encouraged to utilize outdoor seating.
  • The building will be a traditional condominium to encourage the sale of individual units on all floors when feasible.

It could also include non-protruding decks for each loft, permanent artwork and courtyards, and a parking deck may be considered by the city.

Jerry Mansour, the Realtor for the project, said he has four tenants who have submitted non-binding letters of intent with a refundable deposit. He said the next step is for purchase agreements.

"Once the've written a check, it shows their intention," Mansour said. "Once you put money down, I think it shows they believe in it."

The DDA has spent $55,250 on the project so far for conceptual drawings and consulting services from Mansour.

Construction is expected to start on the project in late 2012 and the building is expected to open in early fall of 2013. The agreement sets a deadline of four months, which can be extended, until the signing of a final development agreement.

"This puts the meat on the bones of the core elements of the project," City Attorney Stephen Schultz said. "Then we will work on another agreement with more bindings and milestones."

Richard Smith July 18, 2012 at 12:58 AM
When I first heard of this project I thought it was a fantastic idea. Two stories? Awesome. Three stories? Uhhh, okay...maybe. Four stories? This has to be a joke, right? I mean the grain elevator is cool and adds to the town's charm in it's own way but now there is going to be this massive monolith right on the very edge of a central downtown corner over-towering nearly everything within the city limits.
Natalie Perkins July 18, 2012 at 01:34 PM
I think it's an excellent move to bring interesting retail and foot traffic to downtown. Don't forget that the top three stories of the structure will be filled with working, tax-paying adults who will only need to go out their front door to find a place to eat or shop. When my mom comes to visit, we head to Holly for shopping because there is nothing worth seeing in Fenton. Example: a junky pinball paraphinalia graveyard located in what should be a prime downtown storefront. I cringe every time I see it. It could be a boutique or an actual business! This development will provide enough pedestrian traffic to give merchants the confidence to open a business in Fenton with the reasonable belief that it can be profitable.
Jen Peters July 18, 2012 at 01:58 PM
i agree that four stories is one or two too many...i love the idea of the building, but i feel like its going to be hugely out of scale with the rest of the downtown. also, i don't think that fenton is lacking in apartment space...and i can't imagine that an overlook to an empty gas station is a very appealing sell...
Larissa Nicpon July 18, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I agree Jen! And isn't this project already behind schedule? Further, I thought the city had purchased the empty gas station. Does anyone know anything about this?
Richard Smith July 18, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I don't disagree in the least that it's an intriguing project. It's just that I see it being 4 stories high as an eyesore and breaks up the visual flow and aesthetics of the city. I like it as a centerpiece but that doesn't mean it has to be Fenton's version of the Great Pyramid of Giza. And three stories of apartments and lofts? Is that sustainable in this town and market? I mean I'm not a real estate pro or anything but is that realistic in Fenton? Grand Rapids, maybe. But Fenton?

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