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 Hoover & Associates, a Royal Oak-based financial planning company, bought the historical John Almon Starr building Feb. 4 from the Law Office of Chisholm & Shuttie, which has owned the property for the past 26 years.

Hoover & Associates, a Royal Oak-based financial planning company, bought the historical John Almon Starr building Feb. 4 from the Law Office of Chisholm & Shuttie, which has owned the property for the past 26 years.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

John Almon Starr house sold to local financial planning group

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published February 26, 2019


ROYAL OAK — On Feb. 4, Royal Oak-based Hoover & Associates purchased the historical John Almon Starr building, 3123 Crooks Road, south of 13 Mile Road, from the Law Office of Chisholm & Shuttie.

Hoover & Associates, a financial services firm, will move its headquarters and 10 employees into the building. It plans to make only small changes to the interior of the building, including refinishing, repairing and adding wood floors; creating an employee break room; replacing carpet; and updating the bathrooms.

The law office has owned the 3,092-square-foot building and approximately 1.3-acre property for the past 26 years after purchasing it from the city. The late Victorian-style home was built in 1868 and is listed on the Michigan Registry of Historic Sites.

John Almon Starr was the son of Orson Starr. The Orson Starr House is a museum located at 3123 N. Main St. in Royal Oak.

Ed Shuttie, attorney at the Law Office of Chisholm & Shuttie, said he and his business partner, Don Chisholm, put the property up for sale last year. He said that he still practices law while living on his boat in Charleston, South Carolina, and that Chisholm is retired.

“It’s always been the plan (to sell it), even when we bought it,” Shuttie said. “Some (potential) buyers had ideas that wouldn’t work, but the new owners are going to use it for office purposes, so they should be good caretakers.”

Randy Hoover, president and founder of Hoover & Associates, said the company, which celebrated 30 years in business last year, is currently housed in a historic building built in 1906 at 909 N. Main St. in Royal Oak. He said the company would be moving its headquarters to the John Almon Starr building and selling the other property, likely during the summer.

“We’ve got a large employment growth in our businesses and we just needed more space,” Hoover said. “This was a unique opportunity that was close, and we wanted to stay in the city of Royal Oak. It’s been a great place to be.”

He said he loves the charm of the John Almon Starr building and its historical value.

A depression in the ground from the Saginaw Trail, a former American Indian trail that ran from Detroit to Saginaw, is visible on the property. The Starr family also made bricks and manufactured cow bells.

“It’s just exciting to be in a building like that,” Hoover said. “The law firm did a good job with making it outfitted for business. We’re excited to be entrusted with such a place and to preserve the property.”

He said the group purchased the property for a small amount less than the price it was listed for — approximately $725,000.

Royal Oak City Attorney David Gillam said that in order to assume an existing mortgage on the property, Shuttie and Chisholm had to agree to deed restrictions mandated by the city.

The restrictions, which remain in place, include that the exterior be maintained and that the original bricks be used, if possible; that the site not be split or divided; that any new structures or grading proposed on the property be subject to approval from the Royal Oak Historical Commission; and that the public be allowed access to the house a minimum of six times per year, as coordinated by the Historical Commission, Gillam said.

Rick Ax and Daniel McCleary, of Southfield-based commercial real estate firm Farbman Group, facilitated the sale of the property.

“This is a wonderful, well-kept historical building that is an important landmark to the area,” McCleary said in a statement. “We are delighted our firm was able to find a new owner with roots in the Royal Oak community.”