Former Detroit Lions cornerback Ron Bartell is charging forward with $4.6 million of investment in new development and renovations along the historic “Avenue of Fashion.”
The investment is spread across a handful of Bartell’s properties on Livernois Avenue between Seven Mile and Eight Mile roads. It includes a new mixed-use building expected to cost $3 million to construct, as well as $1.6 million in renovations to a couple of buildings set to welcome new tenants this spring and fall.
The new development, planned for 19338 Livernois Ave., will be tied into a neighboring 3,000-square-foot building, which is vacant and part of the old Hunter’s Supper Club property, Bartell said. Once complete, the 10,000-square-foot, three-story development would include three ground-floor retail spaces totaling 7,000 square feet and five apartment units.
Bartell is working with community development financial institution Capital Impact Partners to secure financing for the project. He said he expects the project to break ground in late fall and be complete nine months later.
“I just want something that fits the area, to help with the changing landscape of the Avenue of Fashion,” Bartell said.
Bartell, who played for the Lions from December 2012 to August 2013 and was a Crain’s 40 Under 40, is looking to capitalize on new energy and interest in the northwest Detroit neighborhood. The city is slated to spruce up the business corridor there as it attracts new developments and small businesses.
Besides the $8.3 million redevelopment of the former B. Siegel site that seeks to jump-start the Livernois-Seven Mile corridor, Motor City Brewing Works intends to open its second location at part of the former Hunter’s Supper Club property — the piece owned by John Linardos, who plans to open the brewery by the end of the year.
Bartell said he is also wrapping up a $1 million renovation of 19331 Livernois Ave., located next door to Kuzzo’s, a popular chicken and waffles restaurant he opened in 2015. The 6,000-square-foot, four-unit building has one tenant — Narrow Way Café, which opened in 2017.
Bartell said the building will be ready for new occupants by June. D&D Cuisine and Loose Massage Therapy Plus are planning to open in the building, according to Motor City Match’s website. The businesses were awarded $35,000 each.
A few blocks north, Bartell said, he is investing about $600,000 to renovate the 3,000-square-foot vacant building at 20050 Livernois Ave. Petty Cash Kitchen + Cocktail Bar, which was awarded $50,000 from Motor City Match, is expected to open there in the fall.
Bartell said he is in discussions with several potential restaurant and retail tenants for the new development. Rental units have not been set for the apartment units. There will likely be one 500-600-square-foot studio unit, three 800-square-foot one-bedroom units and one 1,200-square-foot two-bedroom unit. Bartell said he plans for one of the units to be priced as affordable housing.
Grosse Pointe Park-based Urban Alterscape is the architect for the new development. A general contractor has not yet been selected.
Bartell said he has a few other properties in the area but no other immediate redevelopment plans.
“This has kind of been keeping me busy for the last year and a half,” he said.