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Residents Voice Opinions for Clarkston Union in Old Fenton Fire Hall

Fenton officials to choose between Clarkston Union and Arbor Brewing Company owners next month.

On Tuesday, Fenton officials selected the owners of or the as finalist to renovate the .

Many Fenton Patch readers have posted their comments on the site and on the Fenton Patch Facebook Page. Here is a "taste" of what they said.

"I'm all for The Union, but the Arbor Brewing sounds good too. Will not be disappointed either way!" posted Ginger Kramer.

Dustin Lucius said, "Both great choices, glad it isnt someone who only wants to utilize one level of the building."

"Love union/woodshop!! Arbor Brewing would be way cool too. So excited! Lining up already!" posted Jen Emmons.

Many people showed their support with the simple comment, "Union!"

"Union! Lets have something come to Fenton we don't already have," said Brian Williams.

"We would love to see The Union come to Fenton!" Deb Whitson posted.

You can read more about the old Fenton Fire Hall interviews and process on Fenton Patch.

Laurie Isenberg May 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM
The website that the Clarkston Union owners have developed for the Fenton Fire Hall is amazing! What a comprehensive plan and vision for that building and Fenton as well. I vote to go with people who have already invested so much thought and energy.
Chateau_Du_Lac May 24, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Jason is there any word on what downtown owners of French Laundry, Crust, Fenton Hotel think of the Fenton Fire Hall situation? Do they welcome the opening of the renovation of the Fire Hall and the extra crowds it will bring downtown or do they fear the saturation of the market? I'm not in the restaurant industry, but I have to assume the $1 lease/buy deal can't be sitting well with restaurant owners who are paying a lease/mortgage on their property. I foresee everyone hating the new kid on the block because of what appears to be a sweetheart deal, or maybe it's only a $1 because the renovation is so costly? And I think the only people concerned with saturation should be the owners that have gotten away with serving tasteless food, e.g. Lucky's, Sagebrush, every chain off Owen Rd. for far too long.
Dr. Ron May 24, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Union should approach Crust for bread, desserts or even pastries for their Sunday brunch. Yes, I know they're affiliated with the French Laundry, but there is no reason they can't work together. One, Crust is doing amazing things, and two, they both have the same goals: luring people away from the chains with affordable high quality food and bring people from around the county into downtown Fenton. I think it would be a sign of great respect and reinforce that community/downtown connection. When the town's 2nd most consistent restaurant is Subway there is room for both restaurants to [continue to] be wildly successful.
FentonBizOwner May 24, 2012 at 04:04 PM
CDL, It's not likely that any comments from local restaurants would be anything but politically correct answers...why start bad blood on a project that everyone seems to be so enthusiastic about? That being said, however, local owners are not happy with the situation and the deal that is being offered to outside restaurants. Not only is the DDA giving away a great building for only $1, they are going to be throwing in $400k to help with the build-out, etc. That is a lot of money when you consider that the fire hall is probably worth north of $200 or $300 grand (I'm not a Realtor, so I'm just guessing). That is public money, our money, being given to a private business. The reality is that all of the local businesses have worked extremely hard in these tough times to keep their doors open, provide the community with places to eat, shop, etc. - all without what amounts to a government handout. I would be surprised if there's a local owner that doesn't feel at least somewhat slighted in some fashion.
Jason Alexander (Editor) May 24, 2012 at 04:44 PM
You all make good points. I'm no expert, but I have to believe this will help most everything in Fenton more than hurt it. A lot of people I talk to from out of town don't know much about Fenton. The fire hall coupled with a couple other things could help make Fenton more of a destination. It has not been determined if the $400,000 in assistance will be part of the deal this time around. This is a good conversation to have. What do you think?
Chateau_Du_Lac May 24, 2012 at 04:51 PM
From what I've read, the Union owners claim their remodel will cost in the neighborhood of $1.6 million, correct? Even if the building is essentially free, that has to make it one of the most expensive restaurant openings in the area in a very long time (maybe ever?). I don't know enough on the history of the building and its property, but I assume either there wasn't much interest in it, the city wanted to exercise more control over what went into the space and/or the DDA simply wanted something in quickly. Even with a free building and $400k, let's not act like a $1.2M+ investment in downtown Fenton and in a space that large, is any kind of sure thing. Huge risk that we should all be grateful for.
Dr. Ron May 24, 2012 at 09:31 PM
FentonBizOwner, Mark, is that you? If it was such a great deal there would have been a lot more than four companies pitching to the DDA. I also doubt all of the four that did pitch would even be able to get a million bucks to revamp the building. Downtown Fenton isn't exactly downtown Birmingham. Local owners should welcome the risk taker who ends up winning and putting that much into the place -- free building or not.
Dr. Ron May 25, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Jason, wouldn't a quick call to the DDA verify if the $400k is apart of the deal?
Jason Alexander (Editor) May 25, 2012 at 12:41 AM
I've already talked to them about it. It will be something the DDA will discuss when they meet to talk about the lease.
Pete Toriello May 29, 2012 at 12:39 PM
The Hamel family (French Laundry) was one of the original bidders on the first attempt to secure interested parties by our DDA. Since then they have changed their investment focus on the bakery business call Crust. My wife and I appreciate both the French Laundry investments in our community and believe that the Union owners [who we also know and respect] will bring a needed infusion of community focused care, concern and great food. We need this type of venue to continue to build Fenton into the town we love...and having a hot sauce and micro-brewed beer would be cool!
shannmeyer@hotmail.com October 23, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I for one am excited about any additions to Fenton!, Being from Holly where they would NEVER let a business come in like that. We go to Fenton and surrounding areas for dining! Either option is a plus..after all, any new restaurant is better than nothing(like Holly) I wish the new venture..LUCK!! :)

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