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Fenton DDA Selects Clarkston Union Owners for Old Fenton Fire Hall

Plan calls for outdoor seating, 60 beers on tap and and open fire pit in the kitchen.

The will change hands, but will not likely change names.

The Fenton DDA selected 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 .

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 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 , 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.

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 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 , 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.

Chateau_Du_Lac June 19, 2012 at 11:44 PM
So basically, the DDA took $300k from the (Clarkston) restauranteur and puts it in the Saab family's hands for their phantom Cornerstone Project, run by their 20-something son. Nothing like some good old fashioned bait and switch and crony capitalism in small town America. I realize a free building is amazing for the Union, but when you were going to give $400k to a futile brewer with horrible credit and then only $100k to the hard working restauranteur it's bogus. Especially now that we learn Fenton's wealthiest family is the beneficiary of the transfer.
cathy bateman June 20, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Based on this last comment, maybe they would like to reconsider and check out the Holly Township building...now that has some character and they would definately be helping out a small town in America!
KB June 20, 2012 at 02:11 AM
What unfortunate thoughts for the first comment on such an exciting opportunity for the Fenton community. Congrats to Curt & Ann . . . Welcome to Fenton!!!
C.C. June 20, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Both of the finalists were OK without financial DDA incentives. Curt said tonight that the $$ offered by the DDA was a bonus in coming to Fenton.
Chateau_Du_Lac June 20, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Here are the issues: Same project, they were going to give a financially anemic brewery $400,000 but they're going to give a successful restauranteur only $100,000. A change in terms not disclosed until the second round of the selection process, which is completely unprofessional. Then we find out they're shifting the remaining $300,000 to a Fenton (tsk tsk) developer (Saab family) for a project whose only hope of viability is the success of this fire hall. Small town cronyism. I honestly think the cornerstone project is destined to fail either way, but the fire hall success would give it some hope.
C.C. June 20, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Chateau, If the Union Joints and Arbor Brewing were OK with the financial arrangement the DDA offered, what's your gripe? Sounds like a petty grudge against the DDA and Saab Group even though the current DDA members have done more to promote rebirth downtown than the former board did. When the Cornerstone project does get off the ground and downtown is revitallized....how would you like your crow served?
Dr. Ron June 21, 2012 at 01:41 PM
The $300k haircut in DDA funding, only disclosed during the final round of the selection process, is unethical. And their justification for doing so, i.e. the rebound of the local economy, is completely absurd.
Jason Alexander (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Fenton Patch had reported the incentive package would likely not be the same as the previous one. City officials have made no decisions on where the other $300,000 initially offered to MBC will be spent. City officials said that the candidates were made aware that the package may not be the same when they toured the old Fenton Fire Hall and it was re-stated to them throughout the process.
cathy bateman June 22, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I still think Holly would be the better place. The village has so much character. Your establishment along with the Holly Hotel would really make this "historic village" & Up North Oakland Couny shine. It would be a destination for many to gravitate to.
shannmeyer@hotmail.com October 23, 2012 at 05:36 PM
yeah right...the brewery tried to come to Holly (So I heard) and got rejected. It would be a miracle if Holly let anything like that come to downtown!

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