Candidates seek to turn Red Fox building into event venue | News for Fenton, Linden, Holly MI

The former Red Fox Outfitters building could be transformed into an event and banquet hall.

On Thursday January 27, the Fenton Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider a special land use permit submitted by Cruwood Granary.

Candidates Chelsie Welch and Corey Cunningham want to turn the building into a special banquet hall that will host events for 200 people or less for weddings, showers, retirements, office parties and more.

“The extraordinary and unique building was the main draw of this place above all else,” Welch said. “Its distinctive 166-year-old historic architecture works extremely well as a space to host events, and we hope to preserve and enhance it with this use. We were also excited about the potential to be part of the thriving downtown community of Fenton and what the future may hold for the town of Fenton and our business as an integral part of it.

The 0.542 acre property at 234 N Leroy Street in Fenton is located in the central business district. The surrounding properties are also zoned Central Business District. Its current use is listed as retail, although Red Fox closed in March 2020. Skypoint Ventures, the real estate/capital development arm of Phil Hagerman and Jocelyn Hagerman, owns the property.

The public hearing on Thursday, January 27 begins at 7 p.m. at Fenton Town Hall.

Applicants are required to show how the plans are compatible with the master plan and that it is consistent with the character of the neighborhood.

“The proposed use would both help revitalize and unify the Railroad and Downtown Districts by regularly bringing large groups of people to the town of Fenton to celebrate their events. These significant events cultivate a lively atmosphere within the Rail District while paying homage to the historically unique region and architecture,” according to the app. “Our goal is to preserve, celebrate and amplify the historic architecture of the Granary Building. Our proposed use is based on minimal changes to the building and surrounding area. Maintaining the character of The Granary and the Rail District is essential to the success of our business.

The location allows for “ample” use of main streets as well as freeway access, depending on the application. “The proposed use will not cause any additional pressure on other public facilities and services,” the request states.

The site “may produce potential nuisances such as traffic and noise pollution,” according to the request. They plan to use valets, carpool programs and shuttles so that event traffic has minimal impact on surrounding areas. All music and sound systems will remain indoors.

This is not the first time that a candidate has wanted to transform this building into an event venue.

In October 2020, another application requested a special event permit, but was denied due to parking issues.

In this application, a study by ROWE Professional Services Company indicates that the maximum capacity allowed in the banquet hall would be 240 people, which was determined by the city. This requires them to have 120 parking spaces within a 500 foot walk.

The plaintiffs provided ROWE with specifications for eight separate car parks. In total, the plan mentions 301 parking spaces.

In addition to public parking, agreements with private companies make up some of these spaces. Customers have an agreement to use the car parks at Fenton Glass (60 parking spaces) and the Skin and Vein Institute (29 spaces). A third car park with 11 spaces is the customer’s property.

Welch said that from the start, these two companies have been “incredibly supportive and helpful” in finding a potential parking solution.

ROWE collected data between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Friday November 5 and Saturday November 6 to study the number of places available in these lots. There were 140 places available on Friday and 166 available on Saturday.

The app also lists more than a dozen industries that would be positively impacted financially in Fenton with a nearby location, including restaurants, hotels, photographers, bakeries and more.

About Octavia A. Dorr

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