Rondo Investment LLC brought a site plan before the City Council Sept. 3 to put apartments on this site, the location of the former Gourmet House.

Rondo Investment LLC brought a site plan before the City Council Sept. 3 to put apartments on this site, the location of the former Gourmet House.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske


New apartments with ‘Key West’ look coming to Jefferson Avenue

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 6, 2019

 Residents of Maple Street, west of Jefferson Avenue, worry that there will be more traffic and people parking on their street with a new development.

Residents of Maple Street, west of Jefferson Avenue, worry that there will be more traffic and people parking on their street with a new development.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Over the objections of some Maple Street residents, the City Council unanimously approved the site plan of a 24-unit apartment complex to be constructed between Baffin Brewing Co. and Harbor Lanes Bowling Center on Jefferson Avenue, north of 10 Mile Road.

Rondo Investment LLC, represented by Mark Fuga, was before the City Council Sept. 3 for the approval of a plan for the site of the former Gourmet House at 25225 Jefferson Ave. Fuga said that they plan to construct a two-story, 24-unit apartment complex with one- and two-bedroom units ranging in size from 781 square feet to 1,180 square feet that will rent for about $1,150-$1,450 per month. The complex will also have a rooftop patio in a cupula resembling a lighthouse, basement laundry and storage, a fitness center and enclosed lobby areas, along with one elevator that will reach all four levels, from the basement to the roof.

“This building is going to enhance the street,” Fuga said. “If this goes well, this is just the beginning of our plans for the Nautical Mile. We’re going to have so much invested in this and be so nice. This is what’s going to make the neighborhood nice.”

Parking will be provided on-site, with overflow parking across Jefferson Avenue, where the company is also purchasing two parking lots and the building that houses North Shore Valet Cleaners.

Fuga said the first story of the complex will be brick, with the second story to be painted Hardie board siding in pastel colors.

“We’re trying to bring a little of the Key West look,” he said. “It’s going to have a deck on the roof. Everything’s going to be quality, clean and well-maintained.”

Each building will be a different color, with white trim, he said.

The plan’s architect said that they were trying to keep the plan in line with the nautical theme.

Councilman Chris Vitale said that he appreciated the unique nautical development, but wanted to have more greenery installed inside the cement wall that will separate the complex from the neighboring homes. However, Fuga said, that would mean they would lose parking spaces.

Nearby residents complained about the traffic that could come down their street before drivers realized that Maple Street dead-ends west of Jefferson, and also traffic to get out onto Jefferson when more residents are added to the area. Additionally, they expressed concerns about rats coming to the area because of trash, and the fact that more people will be parking on their street.

“Between 7:20 and 7:40 (a.m. during the school year), you can’t get off our street,” said Elizabeth Adkins of Maple Street. “No one will let you out. Everyone’s in a hurry. I can’t imagine what this will be when there’s more people and more cars.”

She also pointed out that while the pastel plans looked beautiful, “We have a bowling alley that’s purple and red.

“How is that, being a stone’s throw away from each other, how does that beautify the Nautical Mile?”

Council members pointed out that the other use for the property would be a restaurant or a club, which would likely bring more traffic than an apartment building.

“Pretty much anyone who lives in this and turns down Maple the first time (and) finds out it’s a dead end is never going to turn down there again,” Vitale said.

Councilman Ron Frederick pointed out that snow will have to be trucked out of the site come winter or it will eliminate even more parking spaces for residents, and Fuga agreed that it could be taken to their property across the street.

But another nearby resident questioned just how residents and visitors will get to and from the apartment complex to the overflow parking across Jefferson Avenue.

“How are they getting safely across Jefferson without jaywalking?” asked resident Jeff Bissonnette. “I wouldn’t cross Jefferson at 5 in the afternoon there.”

City Council members voted unanimously to approve the site plan.

Fuga said that they hope to break ground in October in hopes that the apartments could be ready for occupancy by September 2020.

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