Getting Upfront open and operating a good thing for downtown

After several years of rumors and reports, officials confirmed for the record this week that a keystone downtown Marquette business, idle for the past several years, may soon be sold and if the deal goes through, could open as soon as this coming spring.

A serious purchase offer has been made for Upfront & Company, which has been vacant for four years, according to Re/Max 1st real estate agent Dan Keller, who noted for a Mining Journal story on the matter the new owners are expected to close the deal by the end of the year.

The sale price is $4.6 million, up from the former price of $3.9 million, he said, adding the restaurant, bar and banquet hall is expected to reopen by next spring. He didn’t disclose the prospective owners’ names, but said several are local.

“We had two people looking at it at the lower price, but this price includes inventory and liquor license and everything else, so it all falls in line,” he said for the Journal story. The 44,000-square-foot building closed in September 2012, for what at the time was claimed to be renovations. It never reopened, however, and it remains unclear what, if any, renovations were undertaken at the time.

The building did suffer water damage a couple years ago, but that has been repaired. The new owners have design plans that are expected to take three to four months, with a grand reopening around the first week of May.

Here at the Journal we understand that in a market which continues to recover from the Great Recession, businesses come and go, and far too much importance can be attached to either circumstance. That said the closure of Upfront, with its strategic location and overall popularity, was a significant loss to the city’s downtown.

We’re pleased to see what appears to be movement toward reopening.