UPDATE: Jolly Pumpkin Says 'No' to Former Bank Site, Others Interested in Location

The nearly $2M development was expected to create 95 jobs in Royal Oak.

Jolly Pumpkin says "no" to former Citizens Bank building, but is still interested in Royal Oak.
Jolly Pumpkin says "no" to former Citizens Bank building, but is still interested in Royal Oak.
UPDATE, Jan. 29, 8:43 a.m.: According to City Manager Don Johnson, another developer may be interested in the former Main Street bank property.

"I don't have all the details on this, it's been in litigation,  but I don't believe it is simply a title problem. The option expired and the owner was no longer willing to sell at that price.  I heard this was resolved or about to be, that Jolly Pumpkin is out of the picture and that others are interested in the building," Johnson said.

Jan. 28, 12:08 p.m.: According to the Detroit Free Press, Jolly Pumpkin Café developers have given up on the former Citizens Bank building located at 218 S. Main Street over issues with the title.

Northern United Brewing Co. told Royal Oak commissioners in January 2012 it planned to move forward and purchase the Citizen’s Bank building, which has been vacant for more than eight years, for $950,000 and spend another $1 million in fixtures, equipment and improvements.

Jolly Pumpkin said it would create 95 new jobs in Royal Oak serving hearth-baked pizzas and gourmet salads with "homemade” alcoholic beverages.

“The original owner reportedly lost the property to foreclosure, and then the bank, which took it over, went belly up and was taken over by the government. So there’s a lot of negotiations and paperwork that has to happen,” former Royal Oak City Commissioner Jim Rasor told Patch in 2012. “So it’s just going to take longer.”

Apparently, two years is long enough to wait.

“We finally gave up on that location,” developer Jon Carlson told the Free Press. “But we haven’t given up (on the project) and are looking for new sites in both Royal Oak and Detroit.” 

Any ideas for a new Royal Oak location for Jolly Pumpkin? Tell us in the comments.
Tim H January 28, 2014 at 03:10 PM
This is very disappointing. I was really looking forward to a high quality brewery in RO. Something for beer snobs like me to enjoy vs. the obnoxious clubs we have in downtown RO. Hopefully they find another ideal location in RO and don't lose this gem to the creative corridor in Ferndale or Detroit.
Sherry Lane January 28, 2014 at 06:22 PM
thank God.. not another bar or restaurant R.O. seems to be catering to the people outside of the city and not to it's residents we need real stores downtown
CDE January 28, 2014 at 07:32 PM
Tim H, your "beer snob" preferences have seem to evaded you as the small downtown of Royal Oak is flush with places for your type--i.e. Royal Oak Brewery, Lilly's Seafood, and Bastone's--certainly at the same caliber as Jolly Pumpkin and most specifically the ROB, thus the nationwide beer competitions where they have been victorious. The city also is home to Milking It Productions, a brewer but not brewpub. I am not too disappointed about this, given the proposed food menu. Would love to see that property developed, it is certainly a sore eye for the downtown.
Tim H January 28, 2014 at 08:35 PM
CDE - I'm sorry, but Bastone ( I actually love bastone and the complex as a restaurants and bars) or the ROB do not have good brewery beer. If they did, you would see it sold at places like "One Eye Betties" or "Redcoat Tavern" like you see JollyPumkin being sold (and in other gastropubs across the country like Jollypumkin) . To be perfectly honest, the beer is kind of crappy, and I do not know anybody who likes good beer and goes there for beer - very provincial breweries. Lillie's is only a B level seafood place, so I am not sure what you are talking about with regard to beer - I guess they have a beer list but it is not impressive. I have not ever had milking it so I cannot judge them - are they in downtown? The property needs to be developed, and I was really looking forward to a high quality pub that would attract a more sophisticated group than a place like Blackfinn. I know you want retail, but in order for it to flourish we need more white collar and professional jobs downtown - like Birmingham. Otherwise they will not succeed anyway. They need daytime traffic. I suggest you protest for that, and maybe you will see more retail succeed.
Wm. Allen January 29, 2014 at 07:03 AM
Well, if Royal Oak voters do want more retail, than we need a City Commission that doesn’t contribution around $20,000 in parking spaces to a private company that demands Barnes & Noble be ejected before the B&N lease expires.
niteman January 29, 2014 at 11:43 AM
I agree with Tim H. (so I guess that makes me a beer snob too) as those two mentioned places have decent beer but nothing that brings me in just for their beer. Milking It Productions is pretty standard too. It's actually is better on tap than in the can. Also agree with the notion of needing more white collar jobs downtown. Hopefully with the Hotel complex and old-Harper furniture building rehab that will help some...
CDE January 29, 2014 at 12:12 PM
To the self-proclaimed "beer snobs"...there are three breweries downtown, Lilly's also brews their own beer and it is solid (not spectacular and I never addressed the taste of their food Tim, I agree with your opinion)...Bastone's is owned by same the company that owns Jolly Pumpkin and they both use similar processes and quality ingredients (I have spoken to them in the past about that), so may want to get your taste buds checked there...Royal Oak Brewery has won multiple awards for the Royal Oak Red and the bar is filled 24-7, beer advocate also gives the ROB solid ratings--may want to check your buds again on that one...why these places are not in other establishments? Because that is a business model decision and they have chosen to not go that route (ROB and Detroit Beer Company are owned by the same folks)...just because you may not like their beers certainly does not mean they are of lower quality...these breweries are not Short's, Bell's, insert another high quality beer, but not many are and neither is Jolly Pumpkin.
Andy S. January 29, 2014 at 01:04 PM
They sould put a multi story office building in the bank spot. Royal Oak needs office workers to increase daytime foot traffic which would help the retailers.
Jason Freeman January 29, 2014 at 04:35 PM
As a 15 year resident of Royal Oak, who moved here just after college, strictly because I, and the vast majority of the friends I have that have moved here since, viewed Royal Oak as a city with an amazing and eclectic suite of delicious food and beverage options; I am disappointed this couldn't get done. Jolly Pumpkin is a fabulous restaurant with some delicious beer, one of which is on my short list for all-time favorites, called La Roja. I live just off of Main on Baldwin, right downtown, and I was extremely excited to hear this was happening quite some time ago. I am not a fan of the mega bars like BlackFinn or Hamlin, but I DO believe they absolutely have their place for drawing young people into our city. These are young people who move here in their early 20's for BlackFinn, Hamlin, and the other entertainment options (at one time it was Woody's and Rumors that had everyone up in arms), and then who 15 years later, stay here because there are a plethora of amazing dining options... And I can assure you Jolly Pumpkin would have risen to the top of that list. I have been a fan since I tried their beer at their other SE Michigan location in Ann Arbor, which oh by the way, is a great city to emulate, with its endless list of eclectic food and beverage establishments. The bars and restaurants do bring tons of people in from "out-of-town," but many of those people love their experience and eventually decide to move here. There about 7 new houses being built on my street right now, big ones, all $350,000+, and every single one of these people are in their mid to late 30's or early 40's. They are moving here because they love that Royal Oak is an "entertainment" district with an amazing and accepting culture that lies beneath that. All the folks that always say "not another bar" and want more "shops," are the same short-sighted people who complain at the smallest hike in property taxes. i have news for you, people are moving here, building here, and home improving here FOR all of the great bar and restaurant options, and all these new folks are the ones keeping our property taxes in check. Step back and try to see the big picture for once. Side note, Jolly Pumpkin is not owned by the same conglomerate that owns Bastone, Vinotecca, Craft, and Cafe Habana (or Monk). It is owned by Ron Jeffries, who started the company in Dexter, MI.
CDE January 29, 2014 at 05:36 PM
Jason, well said and could not agree with you more (minus the food options at Jolly Pumpkin). The same situation has taken place in my neighborhood--6 new homes and same price range as you quoted within 4 blocks of my home. They stated they are still in search of a place in Royal Oak or Detroit, but could totally see them opening up shop in Detroit given its current revival...clearly I was misinformed on Bastone's ownership--surely should have verified what the manager at Bastone's said, definitely my bad but still enjoy Bastones's Double IPA, Belgian Red, and Dubbel (also enjoy the Wit). For the "beer snobs" still paying attention to this patch, check out Odd Side's Citra Pale Ale.
Brett A. Hermance January 30, 2014 at 06:59 AM
How about Jolly Pumkins try the empty places next to the Main Theater, the former car lot space or even the empty Harper Furniture store place? Many to choose from around town.
Brett A. Hermance January 30, 2014 at 07:00 AM
Forgot to mention the former corner Caribou coffee place.
Mark January 30, 2014 at 09:16 AM
A lot of good comments made here. I agree downtown RO has to be a nice blend of retail and bars/food/entertainment. However, I was super disappointed to hear the bank purchase fell through for JP. I have to echo a couple opinions here, JP is a cut above the current offerings. I go to Bastones and ROB, I like them, but for me JP is a little more serious with their brewing and too concerned with crowd pleasing. If you want to JP to hopefully come to RO and not another city, email them and let them know. I already did. "Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales LLC." artisanales@gmail.com
Mark January 30, 2014 at 09:18 AM
oops, meant to say "NOT" too concerned with crowd pleaseing...
niteman January 30, 2014 at 12:21 PM
CDE...No real argument to have here. Just that the current breweries in RO that you've mentioned aren't of the same caliber (according to my tastebuds). I'm sure they've all won some kinds of awards but as many times as I've been there and will continue to go back (by the way), chances of me remembering something "memorable" that I consumed are slim.
Sherry Lane January 30, 2014 at 06:08 PM
well I've lived here for 35 years.. shopped, dined and played here also.. I see the big picture.. the long time residents are getting left by the wayside... For God's sake someone get me a Stroh's .......
Judy Gates January 31, 2014 at 07:07 AM
I think the bigger picture here is when will the title to that eyesore property be clear so something can replace it! Do you really think that other businesses are knocking at the door of a property that Jolly Pumpkin has waited 2 years for?…..
Laura Harrison January 31, 2014 at 09:23 AM
I don't know what bank or banks are involved, but I will bet they are not local and are holding out for the big bucks. I will also bet they don't even know where Royal Oak is.
Tim H January 31, 2014 at 09:50 AM
If you appreciate Judy's work, please sign this petition. Hopefully, she can take it with her wherever she goes in the future. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/judy-davids-is-an-excelent-editor
V January 31, 2014 at 11:27 AM
Don't really care about the beer side of it, but pizza is a tad much overdone. Already the majority of downtown bars/restaurants serve pizza. Why can't we have a nice pub instead? (2nd floor pub on 11 mile and Main is all glitz for that same young crowd, but serves substandard food - I am a foodie, though I love some good pub fare.)
A Person February 10, 2014 at 02:13 PM
hopefully jolly pumpkin will move into the place beirut palace was. great place for an outdoor brewery.


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