- Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said this site was one of the former Merra-Lee stores. The 23 S. Third St. site is "down the block apiece," Mike Simon said. The last tenant there was Wool and Company, and Marion Court was the prior occupant.
Mike Simon put an end to the wishful discussion of an Apple Store in Geneva.
And in the process, he received a unanimous endorsement of the Historic Preservation Commission on Tuesday to restore the exterior of the former Wool and Company building at 23 S. Third St. to the way it looked back in the 1960s and earlier.
"We were talking to Apple until last week, and they came to a conclusion that Geneva was not right for them," said Simon, owner of several Third Street properties, including the former Merra-Lee stores and the landmark Little Traveler. "They have a very sophisticated algorithm. They have volume projections based on that, and Geneva didn’t make the cut."
Simon presented some wonderful historic photos of the building, which were the home of the City Garage among other tenants. There's one showing President John F. Kennedy's visit to Geneva in 1960, with the garage in the background.
The former facade was brick, with a veneer that looks like a horizontal rectangular frame above the door of each "bay."
Simon already has removed the false facade that was installed on the building in the 1970s and is proposing to repair the existing brick facade and install new storefronts in each of the three bays. The proposed storefront system will match those used in the storefronts to the south—at Mossy Twig and the All Chocolate Kitchen.
Also "out" for that property is an upscale grocery store.
"We put feelers out for that, and the first thing they asked was, 'Where is the parking?' " Simon said.
Written between the lines Tuesday night was whether there is a tenant waiting in the wings. Simon said, "We’re talking to a variety of people," but the indicators were that a number of potential clients already had been contacted.
The Historic Preservation Commission voted 7-0 in favor of the facade restoration as presented, with the stipulation that any appreciable variance from lighting at the All Chocolate Kitchen be reviewed administratively. The commission also recommended that any unpainted brick remain unpainted.