Redevelopment plan to bring new restaurant to Okemos

Print More

The MARC building in current standing.

The MARC building in current standing.

By Erin Gray
The Meridian Times

The closed fire station and bank building on the corner of Okemos and Hamilton Road won’t sit empty for long thanks to local business owner and developer Kris Elliottt of Evergreen Companies.

Elliott plans to redevelop the intersection by renovating the former bank building, MARC, into a restaurant and demolishing the old Meridian Township fire station and library building.

“We thought we would try to have some transformation and some synergy down there,” said Meridian Township Treasurer Julie Brixie. “Having a popular restaurant would be something that drives a lot of people to an area and helps an area turn around really quick,” she said.

The inside of the MARC building before redevelopment.

The inside of the MARC building before redevelopment.

Phase one of the project is the renovation of the restaurant and the demolition of the fire station.

The Meridian Township Board granted Elliott $35,000 to tear down the fire station building because asbestos was found after an inspection.

“We have given him a $35,000 allowance to tear down the fire station because you can’t really remediate that it has mold inside and it has a lot of other problems too,” Brixie said.

The old Meridian Township fire station, planned for demolition by the end of this year.

The old Meridian Township fire station, planned for demolition by the end of this year.

Brixie said the township will grant Elliott an additional $35,000 for phase two of the project if he files a building permit before Dec. 31, 2017.

The demolition is expected to be done by the end of this year and the restaurant is planned to be open for business in spring 2016, according to Meridian Township Associate Planner Peter Menser.

The inside of Meridian Township's old fire station building.

The inside of Meridian Township’s old fire station building.

“We have this concept: plan, stage and development where the owner can go through the project and get preliminary comments on the project and hopefully we can move ahead with that soon,” Menser said. “Then we will be working toward developing the site plan of the property, submit to staff for review …but we do not have a date for any of that.”

Phase two is construction of the apartment building in place of the old fire station. Phase two will be complete after a couple of years.

The sale of both adjacent properties closed on Oct. 7. Meridian Township received a closing cost of $424,219 from Elliott.

Elliott is a business owner and developer of several restaurants and apartment complexes in the area. Brixie said Elliott developed Leo’s Lodge restaurant on Grand River Avenue and Okemos Road and the apartments above HopCat on Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road.

Elliott's restaurant, Leo's Lodge, located on Grand River Aenue and Okemos Road.

Elliott’s restaurant, Leo’s Lodge, located on Grand River Avenue and Okemos Road.

“He has renovated a number of old buildings into restaurants before, so this is something he is pretty knowledgeable about,” Brixie said.

Menser said this project will help develop a downtown on that corner and will hopefully inspire other businesses.

“I think it will provide some spinoff opportunities for other businesses,” Menser said. “Other businesses and property owners in the area will see that this project is moving forward which may inspire them to do something with their property –whether it is a face lift, redevelopments or building something.”

Menser said the goal is to bring more people to the area.

The conceptual plan of the restaurant and apartment complex by Meridian Township.

The conceptual plan of the restaurant and apartment complex by Meridian Township.