Fenton InPrint Online

The development of downtown Fentons old “TOPS” lot

Dylan Dockins, Writer

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The Riverview business complex, funded by Chasse Ballroom Studio owner Michael LaJoice, was set to be built in downtown Fenton in 2016. However, construction ceased when LaJoice confessed to embezzling $18 million. The fate of the lot is now being debated by the community.

“Mr. LaJoices had a monstrous vision for what the Riverfront property could be,” Real Estate Broker Kenneth Brant said, “Unfortunately those funds were not his to use, so that vision came to a halt quickly”.

The empty lot on Caroline Street now is owned by a private entity; Peregrine Ventures Properties 2, LLC. The registered agent for that entity is Ridgeway White (of the Mott family). The property was sold Oct. 24 2016 for $1.05 million.

“The Adelaide development is a major part of downtown’s future,” Brant said. “The city hopes that the owner, Ridgeway White, moves towards a quicker development for the good of all,but at this time it seems that what that site might look like is on a ‘short term’ hold.”

No proposals or ideas have been brought to the Fenton city committee. At this point the use of the lot is undecided.

“We already have a ton of food places downtown,” senior Grant Quine said. “It should be created as a rec center with basketball or sports related stuff, because downtown is nothing but food or art/designs and apartments. Downtown needs something other than food stops”.
Downtown Fenton has been getting a steady stream of new businesses and developments. Along with the increasing number of businesses, the community has a growing population.

“I think what they are trying to do is increase pedestrian traffic,” Forensics teacher Matthew Sullivan said. “Whatever they put there it has to draw people there. It’s gotta bring in money so to me it seems they’re gonna put more shops and probably more condos up top. Basically they wanna take downtown and double it”.

Despite flourishing ideas there is no concrete plan for 225 W. Caroline.

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