The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

February 16, 2013

Wally Kennedy: With Fred's gone, another chililess winter on Main Street

JOPLIN, Mo. — There’s a lot of property on the market in the 1700 block of South Main Street.

In fact, virtually the entire west side of the block facing Main Street is for sale. That would be Mister C’s at 1708 S. Main St. It’s listed for $375,000. Bob’s Furniture Gallery, 1736 S. Main St., also is for sale. It’s listed for $650,000.

On the other side of the street, Fred and Red’s Chili Parlor, 1719 S. Main St., is on the market for $650,000. These properties are being handled by Burl M. Garvin Realtor, of Joplin.

One has to wonder about the future of these buildings and how they could be used for other purposes. Generally speaking, when a building becomes empty on Main Street, it can take some time before it’s reoccupied.

Clearly, Fred and Red’s is destined to be a restaurant. But it’s been almost one year since its closing. I was so hopeful that someone would take the plunge before winter set in. There was nothing quite like having a bowl of hot chili there when it was cold outside.

Bob Garvin told me there has been some interested parties in the property, including a potential buyer from St. Louis who almost took the plunge. That’s very encouraging news.

Bob’s Furniture Gallery is a huge storefront that combines several buildings — maybe six or seven — under one roof. It has 27,500 square feet of space. With so many rooms, it could find a new future as a furniture store, a flea market or maybe even an artists’ colony.

For years, Mister C’s was Carlson’s Hardware Store. It has 16,500 square feet on the lower level. It’s occupied by a thrift store on the north end and by Mister C’s, which sells blinds.

Both Mister C’s and Bob’s Furniture Gallery have property in the 1700 block of Joplin Avenue. With the exception of one piece of property at 1715 Joplin Ave., the entire block could be sold.

“We’ve had a couple of lookers on that,” Garvin said. “We could sell it as a package deal — maybe sell the whole thing. There’s some money out there right now.’’

More on Bel-Aire

It won’t be long now before the Bel-Aire Shopping Center at the northwest corner of 20th Street and Range Line Road starts taking shape.

Dave Johnson, with Construction Adventures, told me the first two buildings are about to go up. A third building will follow to create an L-shaped center next to LongHorn Steakhouse.

The site for the center was enlarged with the purchase of property along Highview Avenue. What’s most striking about the site is how it has been lowered in elevation. Johnson said the elevation has been reduced by 7 to 8 feet. It seems like it’s a lot more than that.

The center will have 22 suites. Some tenants will occupy more than one suite. But even with that, there’s a lot of space for storefronts. Businesses that have been looking for a place to enter the Joplin market will have a highly visible opportunity with the Bel-Aire.

No word yet on who the new tenants might be and whether some of the old ones might be returning.

Expect construction to be completed by July.

New flea market

The shake-up in Joplin’s flea markets appears to be far from over. A sign on the door of the former Connie’s Antiques and Flea Market, 5171 N. Main St., says it will become the Fancy Flamingo Flea Market on March 1 and that some new owners are taking over.

If you are interested in renting a space for a booth, the sign says to send an email to fancyflamingo@ymail.com. Connie’s was on North Range Line Road for many years before relocating last year to the former Trade-X building on North Main Street.

Grand Fortuna

People were shocked last week when they saw the old Grand Fortuna restaurant at the northeast corner of Seventh Street and Range Line Road reduced to rubble.

No surprise here. We reported back in December that a shopping center will be constructed there to house Kay Jewelers, Chipotle Mexican Grill and The Mattress Firm.

The shopping center is being developed by Quattro Development, of Chicago.

Still, it is kind of shocking to see a landmark of sorts come down. Grand Fortuna started as a King’s Restaurant more than 40 years ago.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 623-8598.

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