Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Renovation: 1,200 SF
Vacant for more than a decade, the building that now houses Pho on the Block was purchased by the Kalamazoo County Land Bank, and then partially renovated in 2016 as part of a contest! Called “Fare Games,” participants vied using “small bites” for a prize package that included leasing the renovated property, with a final build-out to follow. Winners were two entrepreneurs with a connection to Kalamazoo, who had long-dreamt of opening a restaurant.
To preserve parts of the building’s history as a bank, a drug store, and an insurance agency, the adaptive reuse of the space involved cautious demolition, as well as careful restoration of its most significant features. The very tall ceilings and ample windows have resulted in a dining area that is light and airy, and trimmed in the original cornice.
The existing corner entrance of the building serves as a welcoming entrance to Washington Square, and with its new signage, signals that the restaurant houses a hip, urban vibe.