By Matt Schepeler
If the final details can be ironed out and closing goes smoothly, Steve and Annie Hoover will soon own another building in Brooklyn.
The Hoovers were the highest bidder for the building at 168 S. Main St. (between the Exponent and Victorian Village), and the decision was a relatively easy one for the council.
Altogether the village received three bids for the property, which had been taken over by county government through tax foreclosure and acquired by the village in order to spur on economic development.
The three bids were:
Dan Hotchkiss of Brooklyn, who owns Builder’s Reclaimed Lumber at 195 Irwin St. bid $8,000. He hoped to move his business to Main Street and to be up and running within 90 days, and would continue to make improvements to the building while running the store out of it. He also hoped to eventually rent part of it.
Scott Yang of Brooklyn bid $6,000 and planned to convert the building into a seven-unit strip mall. Yang has successfully renovated property in Jackson and has been the landlord for Brooklyn Apartments at 144 Lane Street for 10 years. He estimated that he would have the building complete by 2020. Along with his business plan, Yang submitted professional drawings.
Fountain Leasing, owned by the Hoovers, bid $75,000 for the building. The couple also own and operate Fountain Plaza which, they noted, “is one of the few multi-tenant commercial buildings in the village to be 100 percent occupied, and with nationally recognized long term tenants.”
The Hoover said in their business plan that the building would be developed as a flexible multi-use space to accommodate large and small business alike. “Discussions are underway with a large area credit union to expand in the area, a company looking for offices to do new expansion in Brooklyn and two separate food service companies,” they noted in their business plan.
They estimate that the cost of developing the building, which needs a new roof and complete electrical, heating and cooling, storm water retention and disposal and interior gutting and remodeling would run between $200,000 to $250,000.
They plan to have the project complete by the end of the year.
It was also noted in their business plan that the credit union that hopes to locate to Brooklyn would require a drive through space, and that structure would be located towards the west end of the property.
The Hoovers estimate that the development, which is similar in size and scope to Fountain Plaza, would employ 40 to 50 individuals throughout the various businesses, half of which would be new hires.
They also presented a letter stating that financing in the amount of $275,000 for the project has been approved by a local financial institution.
Two issues that need to be worked out by the village and the Hoovers before the deal is closed is how much signage will be allowed and a possible tax abatement.
Steve Hoover noted that the village code allots signage according to the amount of building frontage facing the street, and the store fronts in the development will face north rather than Main Street. The council seemed to be in agreement that a variance would be approved, though it was noted that any signage approved would not be allowed to block the vision of motorists using Victorian Village.
The previous sign used by Dollar General, which was the last company to lease the building, was non-conforming.
As for a tax abatement, the Hoovers requested in the proposal that the taxable value of the property only be allowed to increase “at a rate allowed by the state of Michigan at the rate of inflation or five percent if lower by year, with the basis of taxable value to start at $143,647 as stated in the bid instructions.
Steve Hoover also said that they were agreeable to allowing Exponent employees to park in the lot.
A motion by Roberts to accept the Hoover’s bid and put the money from the sale into the street fund and “be earmarked strictly for street improvements within the village” passed unanimously. It is contingent on working out the sign and tax abatement issues.
The closing is to happen no later than June 30.