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.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017