CHEBOYGAN — At the July 13 city council meeting, council members approved a commercial rehabilitation exemption certificate for a coffee roaster and cafe business proposed to go into the old Zany Kitchen building.
Bright Sky Consulting, LLC had requested a commercial rehabilitation exemption certificate for 10 years. This request would be under Public Act 210 of 2005 and would also fall under the commercial rehabilitation district the city had established in the City of Cheboygan’s Downtown Development Authority’s jurisdiction in downtown Cheboygan in 2018.
The exemption certificate — allowing the taxable value of the property to be frozen at current levels for a number of years — can be awarded for up to 10 years through this program. That was the number of years being requested by the developer, who wants to turn the building into a coffee roasting business, as well as a cafe.
The request had been brought before the Cheboygan City Downtown Development Authority board, and it was approved for recommendation to the city council.
Jane Cutter, who is friends with John and Marcella Costin, who have rehabilitated several businesses in the downtown area, said she has watched all the growth on Main Street and she and her husband are ready to jump in and contribute.
“We actually bought 232 N. Main just a few months before COVID hit. So it’s been a while in the making,” said Cutter.
The business being proposed to go into the old Zany Kitchen building is Cheboygan Coffee Roasters, a cafe and kitchen store.
“We would actually be roasting coffee on site,” said Cutter.
The building will need a lot of renovation to bring it to the current century and to help bring life back into the structure.
Cutter said right when you come in the front door, or looking in from outside, you will be able to watch the coffee being roasted in the store and being bagged.
“Similar to the idea of when you go to Mackinac Island and you watch the fudge being made, it’s right there,” she said.
There are also plans to have a large barista area where breakfast and lunch items will be sold. A big kitchen with windows so people can watch the food being made will also be constructed inside the building. There will also be plenty of seating and a retail area with kitchen store items for sale.
The back third of the building is planned to be leased out to a salon owner from Levering, who is moving her clientele from Mackinaw City. There will be a separate entrance for the salon, so patrons of the roasting company will not have to walk through the salon to get to the patio.
The brown garage at the rear of the building will be demolished and a 950 square foot outdoor patio will be constructed, where patrons can go and drink their beverages and eat their food purchased in the store. There will also be a walk up window installed on the Division Street side of the building for walk up orders.
Cutter said she believes this project will tie in well with the plans to expand the Water Street parking lot and people will be able to watch boats go by on the river from the patio. There will be a little bit more of a build up on the front of the building to help it match more of the facade of the area, including the Cheboygan Title Company, which has been updated in the last couple of years as well.
Several members of the public who were in attendance at the meeting, during the public hearing, stated their approval of the plans and how beautiful they think the building will be when everything is finished. Local owner and broker for EXIT Realty Premiere, Roger Kopernik, said he was completely blown away by the renderings and the plans for the building and it is exciting that the business is coming to Cheboygan.
“We want this to be a very warm, inviting place where everybody is welcome,” said Cutter. “That’s our goal. So we’re going to price this right.”
Cutter said she wants to keep some of the food items that will be sold a secret, as they will be unique to the business. The cafe could also be an affordable place for people, including high school students, to come get something affordable to eat at lunchtime.
“Some of the things that we’re putting together I think would really meet that need as well,” said Cutter.
The two bedroom apartment above the store will also be completely renovated and brought up to current codes and standards over the winter, after the outside of the building and retail space have been completed. The work is scheduled to begin on this business in August, with the goal of being completed in late October.
Cutter is looking to have at least three full time employees and several part time baristas and servers. Then, in the future, the business may expand and need more employees, bringing more jobs to the community.
The council members voted unanimously to approve the exemption certificate as it had been requested of them, for a period of 10 years.
Contact Features Writer Kortny Hahn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @khahnCDT.
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