IF YOU BUILD IT, they will come. That worked for a ballfield somewhere in Iowa, and it usually works for new housing in Marquette. Whether it’s a condo development or a new apartment complex, many units are claimed well before the paint dries.
Such was the case with the Gaines Rock Townhomes, seen above. You’re probably familiar with the project since anything that goes up within a pitching wedge of the lakeshore gets plenty of attention. They’re the condos located between the original Founders Landing development and the Fairfield Inn & Suites.
According to a TV6 report from October of 2021, 13 of the 26 units had already been sold while construction was still in progress. Buying something, particularly a residence, before its completion, is always a risky proposition. But with housing in short supply, it’s more a case of, “if you snooze, you lose.”
Regarding the Gaines Rock Townhomes, some of those who got in on the ground floor might be regretting their haste to buy. Though no timeline for completion of the project was set in stone, it was assumed by many that the various stages of construction would be done by now, including work in the units that are currently occupied.
A recent informal inspection of the property suggests there are still phases to be completed… not the least of which is the landscaping. The unfinished grounds that front the complex is not a good look. And you may recall the summer storm that washed much of the bare terrain right into the roadway, not far from the big lake. Gotta get that taken care of.
Apparently there are only a couple units left, so any problems there may or may not be haven’t seemed to hurt sales. The current owners have established a condo association, which should serve them better with any concerns they may have… present and future.
Other than the obvious landscaping issues, what concerns are there? From what I’ve heard, things mostly dealing with unfinished interiors… like no doors where there should be doors, leaks where things shouldn’t be leaking, and a rogue garage-door opener that needed to be more securely attached to the ceiling.
We can speculate that reasons for such things might include the standard “it’s the pandemic” line, or the more recent “price of everything” excuse. There’s probably some of that, but I also heard they raised their prices accordingly.
There’s nothing wrong with making a good profit on your work. But your work isn’t done until all your promises have been fulfilled… to both your owners and the municipality.
The development firm behind the project, HRS Communities of Farmington Hills, also has contractual obligations to the city to live up to. They’ve been fined more than once for various code violations and there have been issues with changes to the site plan.
This all comes as somewhat of a surprise as HRS was the firm that handled the redo of the old orphanage. And by most accounts, they did a pretty good job with that.
According to Bernie Glieberman, the HRS rep for the Gaines Rock condos, there have admittedly been some issues with the project. And they know there are things they need to take care of, including landscaping. Sounding like a guy who’s been doing this for more than fifty years, which he has, Bernie told me the work would get done… as promised.
That’s fine, and I hope it does, but I haven’t given Bernie dollar one, so he needs to tell somebody other than me. No problem… I’m sure the condo association will be in touch.
Ultimately, I think owners will end up getting what they paid for. Or at least enough to sell for a healthy profit someday. Yes, most of their problems are of the “first world” variety, but when you’re in it for half a mill, you don’t want any world problems, first or otherwise.
Masonic Center Still Alive and Well
If you haven’t been to our downtown indoor mall recently, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The mall I’m talking about is the Masonic Square Mall in the Masonic Center, in downtown Marquette. I think we kind of take it for granted sometimes, but it’s a huge part of the 100 block of West Washington, with more activity currently than we’ve seen in quite a while.
Of course, keeping the place relevant has not been without its challenges. It’s an older building with an imperfect layout, but those doing business there work with it the best they can. Whenever a building is repurposed, it usually ends up with some unique quirks.
The success of Campfire Coworks, the shared workspace operation on the first floor, seems to have benefitted the whole place, with more people coming and going. And an eclectic array of other businesses and offices give it a kind of “whatever you’re looking for” feel.
The Masonic part is upstairs with their meeting rooms, a banquet hall, kitchen, and the popular theater-like Red Room… stage included.
Building management is in flux, and the whole place is for sale. But life goes on. Business for many of the retailers was brisk this summer, as expected, and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue.
It took longer than it should have, but the façade was been cleaned up and now features new signs for what’s inside. Feel free to venture in. As I said, I think you’ll be surprised. Or, since I’ve told you all about it, maybe you won’t.
• The sign on the outside of the building says it’s the home of WZMQ-TV. It wasn’t that long ago that it was the home of the Kildare Irish Pub. In fact, the television station operates out of the upstairs portion of the building, while the downstairs, formerly the Kildare, remains empty, yet intact, from its days as a bar and restaurant. Now word is someone is looking at bringing it back to life. I haven’t heard exactly what kind of life, but it’s safe to assume some sort of pub. Hopefully something can happen sooner rather than later. It’d be great to have it ready for New Year’s Eve. Make it happen!
• The Little Caesars building on the corner of 4th and Washington, formerly the home of Little Caesars, has been sold and will become a new… Little Caesars. Pizza Pizza!
• As reported here earlier this week, Sol Azteca, the busy downtown Mexican restaurant, will be closing soon, possibly this weekend. Apparently plans are already in place to reopen the space with a new restaurant when all the ownership and management agreements are ironed out. I wouldn’t expect things to happen right away, but knowing something’s in the works is comforting.