Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 9, 2012

What's up downtown?

By KATHY GIBBONS
kgibbons@record-eagle.com

TRAVERSE CITY — A sampling of some recent changes in the downtown business landscape:

-- As part of the new Hagerty building on Lake Street, two new businesses will open soon. Morsels is partnering with Hagerty to open Cavellino Cafe, a 1,700-square-foot Italian-oriented eatery featuring coffees, sandwiches, salads and soups slated for a late December or early January opening. Also anticipating a "soft" opening this week, the 3,800-square-foot Ironworks gym will first be limited to serving Hagerty employees, with the eventual expectation that it will open to the public.

Including space for the businesses was required as part of Hagerty's project approval, but Hagerty CEO and president McKeel Hagerty said it also makes sense.

"It's a natural evolution of a growing business," Hagerty said. "We're more than happy to provide that kind of space to local partners who want to grow their business and make it available to the public."

n Jack's Market on East Front has been sold to Jonas on Front LLC. DDA deputy director Rob Bagicalupi said Jonas recently obtained a liquor license.

"We're still trying to finalize things right now," said Gary Jonas, adding that more details will be ready in January. "There's going to be some sort of food truck element to it, there will be a bar, there will be food in the bar, as well.

"We're really excited about it."

-- Downtown's Front Street Commons, formerly known as The Arcade, has seen a shift in the mix of businesses operating there. Traverse Development office manager Rene Vandekerkhof said that Foiled Hair Lounge and Studio has opened on the second floor where Collective Ink tattoo used to be.

CoWharf casual co-working space has opened where Hocus Pocus was, providing "a casual coworking space" for freelancers, entrepreneurs, writers and others to use desk space and wi-fi with day passes and monthly memberships, according to its website.

Laurie Wildman has taken a three-month lease on space at the back of the first floor. She'll offer upscale designer vintage and resale pieces along with her own fashion designs, Vandekerkhof said.

Also on the main floor, the space recently vacated by So Many Books, So Little Time remains available for rent. Art & Soul Gallery was considering expanding its current store into the space, "but it's not good timing for her, so it's listed," said Vandekerkhof.

Gloria Veltman, who owned and operated So Many Books for 17 years, said "it was just time" to close.

"It was a combination of factors," she said. "The e-books are definitely a growing presence in our world. And it was the working five to six days a week. There are other things I wanted to do."

Veltman continues to sell collectible books at www.alibris.com and at Wilson Antiques in Acme.

-- Developer Jerry Snowden said there's still about 7,000-square feet of retail or office space available on the ground floor of 125 Park, the second phase of the Radio Centre development. There's also office space upstairs at both buildings.

A new ground floor tenant at 125 Park is Nick Nixon Productions, which produces TV commercials and marketing videos, according to the company website.

-- Northern Natural Wine and Cider House of Benzie County will open a tasting room and bar where The Chocolate Den used to be in the 300 block of E. Front. The new Traverse City location will be set up bar-style and offer its own hard ciders and wines along with a light tapas menu. Opening is planned for Feb. 14.

-- Urban planner Nate Elkins has opened the 2,000-square-foot Space at 120 E. Front above Green Island. He described it as "a creative workplace for like-minded people who want to get out of their basement, get out of their house, who have been working from home.

"I knew there was a group of people out there that wanted a space that was theirs," he said. "They're not moving their stuff around, versus if you look at a co-work model, you move."

-- Marie and Jeff Schwartz of JES Enterprises LLC purchased the old bank building at 201 E. Front. She said their plans for the building remain uncertain for now. Up to 6,200 square feet is available for lease, according to www.201frontst.com.