Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. is talking with city officials about purchasing and redeveloping a vacant, historic firehouse in southwest Detroit for its third location in the city, Daily Detroit has learned.

The firehouse, at 3396 Vinewood St., is located just off Michigan Avenue in the Core City neighborhood, nearly a mile west of the rapidly revitalizing commercial district in Corktown. The project is at the center of the city’s effort to rezone 39 lots as mixed use in an effort to draw more economic development to the neighborhood.

Great Lakes Coffee Roasting is proposing a mixed-use space that would combine offices and residences on the second floor with coffee roasting, a commercial kitchen, bar and tasting room on the lower level.

The site is the former home of Detroit Fire Department Ladder No. 4/Engine No. 10, which was part of a wave of firehouse closures under budget cuts ordered by former Mayor Dave Bing in 2012. The 6,724 square foot building was built in the early 1900s and is set on nearly 14,000 square feet of land, according to the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., including a large fenced yard, driveway and parking area and what appears to be a garage structure.

The city has been looking for ways to sell the building along with several other vacant firehouses since 2013, when the minimum bid was set at $128,000. The DEGC has been soliciting redevelopment proposals for Ladder No. 4 since February 2015.

Great Lakes Coffee opened its flagship Midtown cafe/bistro/wine bar on Woodward Avenue in 2012. In addition to its roasting facility and headquarters in Bloomfield Hills, it operates locations in Cobo Center and at the Maple Theater in Bloomfield Hills.

The city is considering rezoning the firehouse and 38 other lots along Vinewood, Hubbard Street, West Grand Boulevard and Michigan Avenue as a mixed-use district of residential, business and office uses. A public hearing is set for June 23 at 10 a.m. before the City Council Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee.

The firehouse is neighbored by vacant lots, a construction equipment yard, industrial buildings and the Alternatives For Girls social-service agency, which would not be affected by the rezoning. It’s not far from the new retail location of Woodward Throwbacks, which Daily Detroit recently profiled.

In a May 8 letter to City Council, Planning Commission members said the area’s current residential-industrial zoning classifications “have not brought in new uses, explaining, in part, the preponderance of vacant lots and vacant buildings in the subject area,” they wrote to the City Council last month. The proposed rezoning should mean fewer air pollution issues and eyesores.

“Further, the recent and forthcoming redevelopment initiatives straddling Michigan Avenue within and to the west of Corktown make the subject area more attractive for future development,” planning commissioners wrote.

I also reached out for comment to the owners of Great Lakes Coffee Roasters as well as city zoning specialist M. Rory Bolger but as of this posting they’ve not responded.

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