Community help reopens Lakeview Inn


By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 10:53 am on Monday, November 07, 2011

Andrea Rawson and David Holbrook have been working to repair the historic Lakeview Inn for its grand reopening tonight.

LAKEVIEW — A 117-year-old piece of Lakeview history will remain intact.
The Lakeview Inn is reopening tonight after the Montcalm County Building Department condemned it last summer.
The facility at 333 S. Lincoln Ave. occupies a brick building erected in the heart of the village’s downtown area in 1894. The building features six upstairs apartments and a downstairs bar and restaurant.
Lee Tanis holds the ownership title for the building through Tanis Investment LLC in Grand Rapids. Andrea Rawson of Howard City has a land contract with Tanis.
Rawson applied for a liquor license transfer this summer as part of an ownership transfer from Tanis to Rawson. All liquor transfer requests require a building inspection, according to state law.
Building Department Director Scott Minard inspected the building and condemned it June 7 due to “severe deterioration of the exterior of the structure and lack of maintenance.” Tanis obtained a building permit to correct the violations July 14. However, only minimal work was done at the site. Also, that work was not in compliance with masonry standards or state construction code, according to Minard.
Rawson recently entered into a business partnership with David Holbrook of Howard City, who owns Holbrook Construction. Repairing the building would be costly, so Holbrook and Rawson enlisted the help of their friends. They have been working together morning and night to get the building up to code. Holbrook repaired the roof, fire escape and sections of the building where the bricks were falling off. A new coat of paint was applied inside and the carpets have been cleaned, along with numerous other improvements.
As a result, the building is no longer condemned. The bar and restaurant will officially reopen tonight and the owners hope to reopen the apartments in several weeks. The Lakeview Inn’s menu has changed too. The restaurant will now be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“It’s not condemned now,” Minard confirmed. “It’s not a safety hazard. Just because I’ve condemned it doesn’t mean it can’t be repaired.”
Rawson said her labor of love was for “the people.” She credits Holbrook, AAA Construction, Matt Cole, Keith Frost, Kevin Holbrook, Benny Houghton, Heather Johnson, Mike Mardigan, Kelly Mitchell, Josh Rausch, Quinton Rausch, Shelly Salome, Josh Suminski, Travis Thurston, Josh Unger and Lindsey Wiles with saving the building from condemnation and eventual destruction.
“I’ve met some awesome people in this place,” Rawson said. “This is Lakeview’s history. This is a family place. People who come here, their parents have come here, their grandparents have come here.”
Holbrook plays in the local blues-rock band Klikred and has deejayed at the Lakeview Inn before. His band will perform at the Lakeview Inn one week from tonight.
“Andrea is a good friend of mine and she’s invested her life savings into this building,” Holbrook said. “I hated to see her lose it. The people who come in here are awesome.”
Lakeview Village Manager James Freed said the liquor license has been given back to the Lakeview Inn. The process of transferring ownership from Tanis to Rawson and Holbrook will eventually go before the village council, but Freed said he doesn’t foresee any problems with the pending transfer.
“Our goal, as with the goal of the Building Department, is never to knock buildings down, but rather gain compliance with safety codes,” Freed said. “We are excited that the owners have addressed the key issues of concern and are working to maintain a historic building.”
The Lakeview Inn has a total of $11,885.95 in delinquent taxes dating back to 2009, according to Montcalm County Treasurer Marcia Sawdy. The owners have until March 2012 to pay the 2009 taxes.

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