Grosse Pointe City business offers place for plants and play

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 23, 2023


GROSSE POINTE CITY — Plants and arcade games might not seem to have much in common, but both have come together in a unique way in a pair of adjacent businesses on Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe City.

Timothy Grand — whose wife, Pam Grand, owns Otherworld Plant Nursery — sought site plan approval for a new business at neighboring 17738 Mack Ave. called Mum’s Arcade. The Grosse Pointe City Council voted unanimously in favor of the request at a meeting April 17, although approval was subject to some conditions, including façade improvements.

Gage Belko, an associate planner with McKenna Associates, said Timothy Grand had been using 17738 Mack Ave. to repair, store and resell vintage arcade games over the last few years. During roughly the last year, though, Belko said the business had shifted into an arcade where visitors of Otherworld could play the games. They also began hosting events on the weekends by appointment only, as well as charity events and tournaments, Belko told the council. The small rental gathering space can accommodate up to 45 people on weekends and evenings.

The building at 17738 Mack Ave. was once a gift shop and it will retain some of that retail element in that Belko said Mum’s Arcade would include a store area for arcade-related products. Both uses are deemed to be in keeping with what officials want for the Mack business corridor.

“We want to have a vibrant and pedestrian-oriented environment on Mack,” Belko said.

The arcade will generally be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Sundays during the nursery season, or by appointment. Later evening hours — until no later than midnight — would be for special events. Although most businesses in the city close at 10 p.m., the city’s planners felt allowing later hours for specific events would be appropriate.

Belko said they recommended upgrades to the façade to let more light in and make it more pedestrian friendly.

The owner wasn’t seeking a liquor license or a food service license, Belko said.

“So, there’s not going to be an issue with (business patrons) parking on residential streets?” City Councilman Seth Krupp asked.

Belko said they don’t see that as a problem.

“As far as parking goes, we find there is sufficient parking in the general area,” Belko said.

City Manager Pete Dame said that, in the evening, there is plenty of parking in that area along Mack, as many neighboring businesses are closed at that time.

The City’s business regulations specifically prohibit mechanical and electrical devices like pinball machines, slot machines and video games, Belko said. In speaking with the city attorney, he said they concluded that this ban isn’t needed and should be repealed.

Based on the recommendation of the city attorney and city planners, the council unanimously approved repealing the prohibition on mechanical and electrical amusement devices. Had this ban not been lifted, much of the activity at Mum’s Arcade would have been illegal under City code.