Proposal heard for Knoblauch building renovation 11.14.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

A developer from Mason, Mich., is hoping to renovate the former Knoblauch Fine Foods building on Morenci’s Main Street. The project would include a Subway sandwich shop, other retail space and four studio apartments.

Ketan Patel is seeking funds through the state Façade Grant Program to refurbish the exterior of the property at 203 and 205 W. Main St. A notice from the City of Morenci in this week’s Observer shows that Patel is seeking a $164,000 CDBG grant. He would invest more than $212,000 to renovate the building’s interior.

Patel plans to open a Subway at 203 W. Main and offer additional retail space for rent in the adjoining location.

“Currently I am planning to have four studio type apartments upstairs,” he said, “but that will be phase two renovation.”

The building was constructed in 1882 for the Bank of Morenci and has had a variety of uses in the past 30 years since the grocery closed.

The building needs extensive repair work, Patel said, and he welcomes the possibility of the façade grant to help with the project. Since the funding is funneled to the state from federal sources, Patel would be required to maintain the historical appearance of the building.

The building is still owned by Mark Knoblauch and Patel would not take possession until the grant process is complete.

Patel said he is very fond of the building, but if he fails to obtain the façade grant, he will reëvaluate the project and perhaps obtain a Subway franchise in another Morenci building.

Patel, a self-employed engineer, has a Subway franchise in Lansing and Hudson, plus a pizza franchise in East Lansing. He enjoys small town businesses because transactions go beyond good food and good service. People are more likely to stop in and talk. It’s more like serving family, he said.

The public has until Dec. 9 to offer comments on the project before the City applies for the release of funds.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016