Downtown Fenton’s Cornerstone development forges ahead with three major tenants.

The Cornerstone is a key component and one of several revitalization projects spearheaded by the Fenton Downtown Development Authority. The 4-story Cornerstone Building will be located at the corner of Leroy and Silver Lake Road. Three key businesses have signed leases.

Chef Shiro Inoue will open a version of the popular Flint restaurant, Sagano Japanese Bistro & Steakhouse. Visitors will enjoy the exotic taste of Hibachi style cooking and the fantastic shows put on for every meal. There will also be a top-notch sushi bar, and lounge.

The bar area will be a great place to meet for a drink after work or late night on weekends. “Fenton already has a few late-night hot spots and we’d like to join the party!” said spokesperson for Sagano. “We looked at retail space in Fenton before, but couldn’t find the right fit. Cornerstone Building will be a beautiful, brand new downtown building, highly accessible from neighboring communities and with ample parking. It’s perfect for us.”

There will be outdoor dining, as well as a private dining room, perfect for special occasions and holiday work parties. Sagano will add a little spice to the flavor of Downtown Fenton, and expects to create 20-30 jobs.

Cafe Aroma, a Fenton favorite for 10 years, is moving to the Cornerstone Building. Stephanie and Andrew Evans, long time Fenton residents, are leasing 1,800 square feet. This is double the space of their current location and will include a full kitchen, expanded menu and a lounge area.

“Now we’ll be closer to our neighboring downtown businesses and feel more connected to the community,” said Stephanie. “The industrial style décor and even some of the menu items will pay tribute to the historic businesses who paved the way for the rest of us.”

They’re brewing up a friendly, relaxing atmosphere in the new space, with reclaimed brick archways, hanging traffic light, historic photos and signs, and custom built barn wood tables by husband Andrew, a Fenton firefighter and finish carpenter. Outdoor seating will let you enjoy breakfast by sunrise or dinner by sunset. For the customer on the go, they’ll offer express pickup at the back door. They will still be serving delicious sandwiches on Crust artisan bread. They’re excited to contribute to the community and will create 25 new jobs to add to their current staff.

Salon 416, a top-of-the-line salon featuring quality, high-end equipment and design will be a welcome addition to the Cornerstone mix. The 2500 square foot space is beautifully designed ‘From Concept to Completion’ by Leslie McGwire, ASID Allied member, renown salon and spa designer, and recipient of 14 national interior design awards. “The soft curves, timeless, classic elements, and artistic mixture of contemporary design along with green sustainable finishes gives this light and airy space a statement of true distinction,” said McGwire, “I never design with only the female in mind. Men should be comfortable in the salon as well.” The cutting edge design that is trendy but still classic enough for all to love will feature a shampoo room independent from the styling space. It will have its own ambient lighting and soft music to provide a calming atmosphere and offer complete relaxation. “It will truly be an experience that you will not forget,” said McGwire. This unique brand new salon will create 25 jobs.

There’s an end unit still available for lease on the first floor. The space is just under 3,000 square feet, and has some of the best visibility and parking, according to Ghassan K. Saab, Project Coordinator, Corlin Builders.

The top three floors will attract new residents to downtown with beautiful one and two bedroom contemporary apartments. The units will include granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, laminate wood flooring, ceramic tile baths, and balcony views of the City and will lease in the range of $900-$1250 per month.

Engineers and architects have been working around the clock to keep the project on schedule. The existing bank building and parking lot will first be demolished, then the foundation laid for the Cornerstone Building. “The building is set to be complete in the winter of 2014, however the stores on the first floor are planning on opening well ahead of that date,” said Saab. “As developers we’re making sure these businesses can open and start earning income as soon as possible, even before the apartments are complete.”

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has awarded $880,000 in both loans and grants to the construction of the building through their Community Revitalization Program. This program provides financial assistance for projects such as the Cornerstone Building, in which developers look to redevelop functionally obsolete properties in downtown areas.

“Without this consideration from the State of Michigan and additional funding by the Fenton Downtown Development Authority (DDA) the project would not have been feasible,” said Saab.

“I want to thank the community for all the support they gave us, as our board members, city administration, architect, developer and realtor have worked well over a year on bringing the City of Fenton a building that truly will be the cornerstone of the downtown district for many years to come,” said Fenton DDA Chairman Craig Schmidt. “This is a major step in the continued revitalization of the downtown district with many more projects in the works as we continue to grow our wonderful downtown into a destination.”

“The City of Fenton is excited that the groundbreaking ceremony for the Cornerstone Building in downtown is rapidly approaching. This is a moment the city has been waiting for since Leroy Street was reopened. I take great pride in knowing this project, the developers, the administration and my colleagues are positively affecting the daily economic condition of this great community,” said Mayor Sue Osborn. “The Corlin Group has been outstanding to work with during the entire planning of this project and I want to publicly thank them for their dedication and for connecting our city to such a positive image county and statewide. I know your efforts will always be remembered by me and this community for years to come. I also want to thank the administration for the countless hours they have devoted to this project. We are very fortunate to have this city manager and assistant city manager totally commit themselves to this project and be willing to explore the ability of attracting other developers to our city. For these reasons, the City of Fenton is happy to hold the upcoming groundbreaking ceremony and we would be thrilled to have all of you join us as we begin our journey for the resurgence of our downtown Fenton and another decade of success.”