The former Rosie O’Grady’s location at 279 W. Nine Mile Road has been vacant since the business closed in 2021.

The former Rosie O’Grady’s location at 279 W. Nine Mile Road has been vacant since the business closed in 2021.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Rosie O’Grady’s site owner aiming to redevelop this year

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 8, 2024


FERNDALE — The old location of Rosie O’Grady’s has remained vacant since its closure in 2021, but the owner is hopeful that progress will be made soon at the downtown mainstay.

After it closed in June of that year, the former Rosie O’Grady’s, located at 279 W. Nine Mile Road, had plans to redevelop the site into a seafood restaurant called Atlantic and Pacific that also included apartments. It’s been a couple of years since those plans first got underway, but the building has remained vacant.

Brian Kramer, owner of Rosie’s and the site, recently gave an update on the project. Kramer stated that it still exists, though without apartments, and that they currently are waiting on potential changes to Ferndale’s zoning code that could allow them to build the restaurant they want.

“Right now with the current zoning laws, I have a 15,000-square-foot lot and I can’t build on the entire lot without the new addition being two stories,” he said. “With the economy today, it just financially doesn’t make sense to do that. So the City Council and the planning department, they have some new liberal changes to the zoning code coming out, and my understanding is it would allow me to build on my entire lot without putting the second story on.”

City Manager Joe Gacioch said he met with Kramer last month about the site, and they recognized how important the property is to the downtown and the need for it to be improved.

On the potential zoning ordinance changes, which would need to go through the City Council and Planning Commission, Gacioch said they look to simplify things for downtown development.

“I actually think he’s gonna be pleased at the simplification, but I know that he’s interested in setback requirements. He’s interested in some of the aesthetic or cosmetic conditions that may be part of the ordinance, which cover things like windows … and things of that nature,” he said.

“(Rosie’s is) at the heart of downtown,” he continued. “It’s at the intersection of Nine Mile right next to The dot and adjacent to the residential area as well. So it’s a pretty important property and I know that Brian knows that and I know he takes pride in that and I suspect that’s why he’s taking his time designing his next business development there. It’s a big foot-traffic driver, for sure.”

Kramer said a second story is not something he wants for the project, which doesn’t include a residential aspect but does include a path for Rosie O’Grady’s continuing at the location.

“A second story, you’ve got to put elevators in and everything costs way more with the sprinkler line having to be bigger, electric service having to be bigger,” he said. “I have all the fundamentals there. So at one point, it just made sense to leave it 10,000 square feet with a patio. I tried to do the apartment things, but the numbers just don’t work out with no parking.”

According to Kramer, if the zoning codes are changed, he will attempt to get the project off the ground this year for a summer start and he hopes to open this year if everything falls into place.

If the codes aren’t changed, Kramer said he’s going to leave the 10,000-square-foot building the way it is and “definitely” open this year.

“It would be one concept that I’d have to pick,” he said. “Either (Atlantic and Pacific) or (Rosie’s). Because at that point, I might just leave it Rosie’s and then wait till next year and build two stories on the 5,000-square-foot lot. All the infrastructure’s there. It’s just not there to support a second story.”