Destination Restaurant, Apartments Coming to Former Rosie’s Location in Ferndale
(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 24, 2021)
Ferndale, MI – Ferndale Planning Commission on Wednesday approved plans for a mixed use development at the corner of West Nine Mile and Allen that will be home to owner Brain Kramer’s latest establishments – Atlantic and Pacific (A&P) seafood restaurant, T-Mex Mexican bbq, office space, and a second story with eleven apartments.
The site, 279 W. 9 Mile, was home to Rosie O’Grady’s. By enclosing the patio, there will be 10,929 sf of restaurant space, 1,355 sf of office and 1,442 sf of the first floor going to accommodate access to the second story. The second story will be dedicated to apartments. Within the restaurants, the occupancy will be 111 seats in T-Mex and 145 seats at A&P.
APARTMENTS ON TOP
Owner Brian Kramer is more excited about the restaurants than the apartments, as those were a requirement put on him by the City and zoning requirements in the Central Business District. But he has put thought and care into their design, employing a courtyard concept that he saw while traveling on the West Coast.
There will be eleven apartments with one or two bedrooms. Those around the perimeter of the building will have balconies, and some of the apartments will have hot tubs and natural gas fire places on the balconies. Four apartments in the center of the building will have glass walls facing a private courtyard complete with living walls that will have plants in the warmer seasons. “The glass walls to the courtyard give an indoor outdoor feel,” said Roman Bonislawski of Ron and Roman, the architect who presented the plans.
The residential entrance and lobby to the apartments will be oriented towards the dot parking structure located across Troy Street. The site itself does not have parking, however Kramer told the Planning Commission that his intent is to purchases parking passes for all residents as part of their leases.
Kramer said that his team had considered different options that would meet the requirements of having higher elevations and mixed use in order to meet the zoning requirements for that area. “I didn’t plan on apartments, but it is require by the city,” he said. “Current laws in place say I have to do this.” They could have added more levels and apartments, but Kramer wanted to keep the site as simple as possible while still meeting those requirements. He explained that he could build more levels and have more apartments, but that his focus is really on building restaurants.
“This project has always consisted of getting rid of Rosie’s, and creating a very new, important restaurant to replace it, and then utilizing the rest of the building in ways that can benefit from the operation of the proposed restaurant,” Bonislawski said. The office space also has an entrance on Troy Street. The idea, he explained, is for Kramer and his administrative staff to have their offices there. They anticipate about nine people using the office space.
The main restaurant will be Atlantic and Pacific (A&P). This is a high quality seafood restaurant that the architect says is “going to be spectacular and a category killer here in Ferndale.” The west end of the building will host T-Mex, featuring Mexican style bbq. Though there will be two restaurants, the occupancy will be less than when the business was Rosies, because more space is needed for the kitchens, coolers, and back of house operations. Kramer is undeterred by the reduced seating, because he believes the restaurants will be popular and he wants to give diners an experience they will enjoy.
The entrance will be crafted right at the corner, featuring a large wooden revolving door. To meet visibility requirements, windows will go nearly to the ceiling on the ground floor. Along Troy Street will be a bike rack as well as planter boxes to add a touch of nature. At the front of T-Mex will be a small area of patio dining, and inside A&P will be an oyster bar where oysters are raised on site. “It will be a destination restaurant,” Kramer said. “People want to be where the hot downtowns are.”
Kramer also owns One-Eyed Betty’s and Pop’s for Italian in Ferndale, as well as a handful of restaurants in other cities. Combined his restaurants keep about 400 people employed.
Because the site plan did not require any zoning variances, the only approval needed was that of the Planning Commission. Construction on the space can begin any time.
“I’ve been in Ferndale 25 years, and Rosie’s has been 13 years at that location,” Kramer said. He explained that he lived in Ferndale for years before moving elsewhere with more space for his dog to play outside and bark without disturbing neighbors.
Kramer said that he loves Ferndale, and “I’m building something that I will be proud of, my family will be proud of.” He added that his children are also interested in the restaurant business and he hopes that as they get older they will be more involved with his restaurant operations.
To read more about the plans, visit the City of Ferndale website to review the Planning Commission materials. Kramer’s current Ferndale restaurants are advertisers on Oakland County Times.
Note: The original version of this story had an error with regard to the explanation of the square footage and has been updated with the correct info.
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