Reopening brings Lexington block back to life
By Margaret Whitmer, Sanilac County News.
Photo by Margaret Whitmer
Re-printed by permission of the Sanilac County News.
Harborview Plaza is expected to reopen by early to mid-May in downtown Lexington.
Summer visitors, disappointed the last two summers by the closure of the live theater, restaurants and other shops located along Huron Avenue between Washington and Dallas streets, need be disappointed no more.
Two new businesses fill the vacant shop fronts: the Celtic Ray Irish Pub & Restaurant and the Sweetwater Gourmet Deli & Bakery.
Celtic Ray is open now and features an authentic Irish pub menu and live music on weekends. It occupies the space where The Vintage Restaurant and Brewmaster’s Pub used to be.
Sweetwater Deli is in the location of the former Smackwater Jack’s Bistro and Deli and is expected to be open by early to mid-May. The space has been expanded by 40-50 percent to include even more tables for patrons.
And it is hoped that the Lexington Village Theatre will open with performances by local talent Memorial Day weekend, said Mike Kettlewell who, with wife Lanae, is the new owner of the block-long complex formerly known as the Smackwater Block.
The Kettlewells say they are currently updating the popular theater’s sound system and plan to showcase all types of music there.
“We’re open to ideas from the community,” said Lanae.
Adds Mike: “We want it to be community friendly. The community has been very positive. They want to support us.”
The theater and two new businesses, along with Studio Hair Design, which has been located on the block for some time, will fill all the ground floor shops and complete Phase I of the Kettlewell’s plan to bring the block back to life.
“Now we’re working on Phase Two – figuring out what to do with the upstairs,” Mike said.
The Kettlewells are natives to the area and both graduated from Croswell-Lexington High School. Mike is a partner of a Lansing area construction company; Lanae is the retired owner of Water’s Edge Salon & Spa on Main Street.
They own a summer cottage within viewing distance of the picturesque mall of shops that previously drew so many Lexington visitors.
The mall went into receivership and was bought by Eastern Michigan Bank in a foreclosure sale in 2012.
“We sat on our front porch for a year and a half saying, ‘Someone should buy that building,'” Mike said.
In June 2013, they bought the building and set up Lanmik, LLC as the umbrella company for the theater and businesses on the block, with the exception of the beauty parlor.
Ever since, they have been busy painting, installing new windows and upgrading the plumbing and electrical systems.
“It was a shame it was sitting there empty,” Mike said. “It was such an iconic part of the town.”