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Published: Wednesday, 10/20/2004

Sylvania: Motel will become a market

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Plantation Motel on Alexis Road just east of where it meets Monroe Street has been there for nearly 45 years. It's scheduled to be demolished and replaced with a Monnettes' Produce Market.

Market construction was approved recently by Sylvania's Architectural Review Board and doesn't require rezoning.

Marc Monnette said the 9,000-square-foot building the family business has planned for the property "should be a really nice addition to the Sylvania community.''

As planned, the building will have the appearance of red brick with a green roof and shutters.

Mr. Monnette said much of the building, which will be located at the southeast corner of the property, will be accessible from the outside during good weather by opening glass doors that can be raised like garage doors.

Although the store will offer frozen items and have a 50-foot deli counter, Mr. Monnette said the business will still specialize in fresh produce.

"It's our forte. It's what we do,'' he said.

Members of the architectural review board approved building but hesitated before approving two pole-mounted signs for the business.

Mr. Monnette said the signs "are our lifeline.''

He and his brother Mike go to Detroit every morning to purchase produce. Although the Monnettes are aware of Sylvania's attempt to get rid of pole-mounted signs, the brothers told the board that there primary product has a very short shelf-life unlike other businesses and they have to get the word out through the highly visible signs.

As the Monnettes make their plans for starting a new stage of their family business, Nondas "Pete" Karabogias is preparing to leave the motel he opened years ago.

The busy intersection where the motel sits "had nothing around here'' when he and family members cleared trees and built the building that was operated by others until 1978.

That's when Mr. Karabogias bought out other owners and has run the motel and lived with his family on the property since then.

He said the business has been good, but it's time to close the single-story, 23-unit motel.

In 2002, a zoning change was approved for a planned expansion of the business, but Mr. Karabogias decided not to go forward with his plans.

He said he will need about a month to buy a home and make other arrangements to close his business.

Mr. Monnette said he hopes his plans can get under way sometime next month. The area will be cleared before construction starts.

"We hope we can be in business in April,'' he said.



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