Traverse City News and Events

Former Stubb's, Soggy Dollar Building To Be Razed

By Ross Boissoneau | April 3, 2019

An iconic building in downtown Northport is scheduled for demolition, the future use of the site to be determined.

The building at 115 Waukazoo Street has a long history as a restaurant and watering hole, with different owners, approaches and names: The Marine Bar, Stubb’s, and The Soggy Dollar. The lattermost closed in 2014, and the building has been unoccupied since then.

“The owners had the building for sale and it didn’t sell,” says Laura Cavendish, Co-Owner of Lord and Lady Construction. When the owners then began looking into refurbishing it instead, they discovered a host of problems. “There was a lot of mold, asbestos and lead. Too much to repair.”

That led owners Ken and Kelley Radeke to make the difficult decision to raze the site and start anew. “This is what we have to do. It’s sad, but we can make it better,” says Kelley Radeke.

After the demolition is complete, what’s next? The Radekes are starting to explore options. “I have all kinds of things I want to do there. We’ll get it knocked down and go from there,” says Radeke. She says it is important to get input from the locals. "I just want to break even and give back to the community."

Lord and Lady Construction will be overseeing the demolition, which Cavendish said is on track to be completed by Memorial Day weekend. “We’ll demo the building, then develop plans on what they want to put there.”

Cavendish says the Radekes intend to build something there that will benefit the community on a year-round basis. “There will be discussions with the village. They want it to fit in Northport and benefit the town. They also want to incorporate its history,” she says.

To that end, she says they may reuse the old coal-fired furnace found in the basement. “We may bring it out and use it as an art piece. It’s too old to use, but it’s really cool.”

Until then, the property will be vacant. Cavendish says after demolition they will be backfilling so as not to leave a hole in the ground, which could pose safety hazards and look unattractive.

The years have not been kind to the building. In addition to the mold, lead and asbestos, the roof is becoming problematic. Cavendish says the Radekes, a Chicago couple, explored all options short of demolition, but that wasn’t to be. “It is sad to see a building with so many ties to the community fall into such poor shape,” Cavendish says. “It’s not what they anticipated. But they could accept it.”

The demolition is being coordinated by Lord & Lady Construction with Asbestos Demolition Services and Team Elmer's. The wall adjoining Waukazoo Tees at 111 S. Waukazoo is not a planned part of the demolition. “Asbestos (remediation) will be first, that’s in the next two weeks,” Cavendish says.

Cavendish also says anyone wishing to share photos of or stories about the building may contact her “so we may incorporate those thoughts and history into the project moving forward.”

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