The (DDA) has a new tenant for its building at 106 Shiawassee Ave. It is working out a lease agreement with Rex Rogers, for his high-end Rex Todd Rogers Design Studio.
They are looking at a three-year lease, which would allow the DDA an opt-out if a developer comes in, said DDA Director Michael Burns. Rogers will pay $1 annually, plus the property taxes of around $2,400 annually. In addition, he will cover utilities, upgrades and maintenance and repair costs.
"I want to help make Fenton more beautiful and help draw more business to the downtown," said Rogers, by phone text. "It's a high-end design services studio. I will offer unique and antique fine furniture, as well as design improvements to a client's living space, landscape."
His plans for the building at 106 Shiawassee include redesigning the interior, plus exterior work.
"It will be brought up to code," he said. "It will be made handicap-accessible. The front porch will be improved with nice columns. And a new front window."
Rogers, who grew up in the Flint area, studied fine arts at University of Michigan-Flint. "I was brought up in an artistic family," he said. "I have always had an eye for design."
He lived in the Washington, D.C. area for several years. Rogers' work includes many window displays.
He currently is working with Elizabeth Dickens, of The Iron Grate, and other clients in Fenton. In addition, over the last six years, Rogers has worked at an estate in Holly, redesigning the kitchen, dining area, bedrooms, library, office and extensive landscape work.
The DDA Board voted 8-3 in favor of leasing 106 Shiawassee Ave. to Rogers. The other prospective tenant was the Fair Trade Project, which sells products from other countries with the proceeds going to help people in those nations.
The DDA committee examining the issue, and Burns, were very impressed with what Rogers had to offer and his abilities, Burns said. "He's a really talented individual. He's very good at what he does."
Fenton DDA purchased 106 Shiawassee Ave. in 2008, and it has been vacant.
Rex Todd Rogers Design Studio is scheduled to open in four to six months, Rogers said.