A Mount Clemens official says the city may raze the former Macomb Daily building on Cass at South Walnut if a buyer isnít found soon. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Mount Clemens — Two historic buildings in this county seat face opposing fates .
The iconic Bank building on South Main Street will reopen as a nightclub called the Vault the first weekend of April, while the old Macomb Daily building on Cass downtown may finally be leveled.
Owned by Macomb County since 2004, the former bank building was bought by Washington Township businessman Waleed "Wally" Mona for $259,000 last summer. It had been vacant since the Bank Nightlife nightclub closed.
"We had deemed — because of the downsizing of Macomb County government and since we had our financial challenges — that we would not need the property or the building in the future for office space," said Mark Deldin, Macomb County's deputy county executive. "So we decided to put in on the market, hoping to get it back on the tax rolls."
Built in 1961, the Bank building was once home to Mount Clemens Federal Savings and Loan. The 8,000-square-foot building was designed by famed architect William Kessler. It's flowing concrete roof won the building the name "The Flying Nun" after the television show from the 1960s.
The concrete roof will remain intact, Mona said, while the interior is being overhauled.
The nightclub will be different from its predecessor, Mona said. The Vault is being touted as a world-class club for the 21-and-older set and will feature national and international acts.
Mona also bought Mount Clemens' shuttered Emerald Theatre for more than $600,000 last October.
Renamed the Macomb Music Theatre, the entertainment venue is in the final stages of a $2 million renovation. Grammy winners Gerald Albright, Norman Brown and Alex Bugnon will perform April 13 and iconic comedy duo Cheech and Chong April 21.
"I have been a resident of the county all my life and I love Mount Clemens," Mona said. "I used to go out there when I was a kid. I love the county, so I wanted to do stuff here."
One structure that may not get a new lease on life is the old Macomb Daily building, which is facing demolition unless a buyer is found, said Brian Tingley, community development director for the city.
"The city was trying to seek some funding through the Michigan Blight Elimination Program for demolition," he said. But, "we weren't successful in obtaining any funding. So we are back to square one."
Over the years several proposals were submitted for the building. The most promising included using the first floor of the seven-story building for commercial use, while the upper floors were to be used as office and residential space.
A banner is draped across the front of the building reads "Building Being Demolished." It was put up by its owner George Adams, when the city was seeking demolition funding. Tingley said the sign was Adam's way to spur interest in the potential redevelopment of the property. There is no deadline for demolition or for a buyer.
"Obviously the city doesn't want to lose the building. It's not too often that you're going to have a seven-story building built, especially in the economy we have now and the development world that we are dealing with today," Tingley said. "Our first goal is to redevelop it. We are willing to work with a private developer."
Tingley said all the activity in the downtown-area may bode well for the old Macomb Daily building.
"There are things happening and we are hopeful that some of that might start to spill over," he said.