TRAVERSE CITY — The sale of one historic building and two parcels will lead to more businesses and development this spring.
Long-time Auto Service Center owner Gary Gorton sold the properties, 436 W. Front St. and 116 W. Gillis St., to Cornerstone Homes in a deal that closed Friday, according to those involved in the transaction.
Gary Gorton said his father, Larry, opened the business in 1969. Gary Gorton started working at the business in 1977, working his way up before he took it over in the late 1980s after vision problems forced Larry Gorton into retirement.
“I still enjoy working, all my employees and all my clientele for years and years,” said Gary Gorton, who plans to keep working through the end of February and be out of the business on March 15. “It’s just time.”
The purchaser — developer/builder Roger Send of Cornerstone Homes TC, LLC — then sold the 436 W. Front St. building to Troy Daily, who intends to renovate the structure to a mixed-use building starting March 15. Daily’s Kayak, Bike & Brew tour business will be one of the tenants in what is known as the Goodyear building.
Cornerstone Homes TC kept the 116 W. Gillis St. lot and intends to tear down an existing pole barn to make way for the second phase of a condominium development called Fresh Water Flats.
Sam Flamont of the Mitten Real Estate Group with Key Realty One represented Cornerstone Homes in the deal. Flamont said Roger Send and his son, Jason, have 19 condos on Gillis Street scheduled for completion in April or May. They wanted the 116 W. Gillis St. property for 20 more units.
Flamont said the pole barn will be replaced by five buildings with four apartments. Each unit in Fresh Water Flats II will feature two-bedroom, two-bath apartments with two-car garages and a rooftop patio. Messages left with Cornerstone Homes TC were not returned.
“My clients didn’t want or need the whole thing,” Flamont said of the two properties listed with Realtor Ted Lockwood of Re/Max Commercial. “They just wanted the back building.”
Gorton said he and long-time friend Lockwood put the property on the market in April, but didn’t want to sell the parcels separately. Gorton said the Gillis Street parcel was a “no brainer” for Cornerstone Homes TC to purchase, since the company started developing Fresh Water Flats on the adjacent lot.
So Cornerstone Homes sold the front building to Daily, who had been leasing the pole building from Gorton. Daily said his business — with its main location at 229 Garland St. in the former home of Inside Out Gallery — will “be one of the tenants in the building.”
Kayak, Bike and Brew opened in 2014.
“It’s really good to have Kayak, Bike and Brew all in one building,” said Daily, who will inhabit the main warehouse portion of the building.
Gorton said the structure at 436 W. Front St. includes a basement under the entire building and has offices on the top floor.
Gorton was also pleased Daily purchased the property, since he has been leasing the “back building for the last 4-5 years.”
“I was very happy Troy is took this building over,” Gorton said. “It’s a landmark. It’s a certified bomb shelter from the air raid days.”
Daily said renovation should begin March 15 and Kayak, Bike & Brew will open in its new space sometime in May.
Daily said a “scaled-down version” of the Auto Service Center will occupy about a third of its current space in the building. Daily added a new bike repair and retail shop, Wild Card Cycle Works, will occupy about 1,000 square feet in the front part of the building, the current lobby for the Auto Service Center.
Gorton said one or two of his current employees will remain in the scaled-down service center, mostly working on the buses from Kayak, Bike & Brew.
Gorton said three of his current six employees have been with the Auto Service Center for more than 15 years; one has been with the business for 30 years.
Flamont said all the different Realtors and clients made what could have been a difficult proposition look easy.
“It was a complicated deal in the sense we had to get a lot of things together quickly,” Flamont said.