By Al Parker
Kim Bazemore smiles widely, wipes her hands on a rag and talks about her latest project of turning a neglected building into a home for creative art and artists. Its been a lot of work over a long time, but its coming together, she says, her voice rising with excitement.
It is the Cogs Creek Collective, a 6,000-square-foot building in Traverse Citys Little Bohemia neighborhood, tucked behind the popular Lil Bo Pub & Grille on North Maple Street.
The former home of Coddington Cleaners, the building now houses an art gallery for Bazemores gold and silver jewelry creations, an eatery, a clothing designer, a knife sharpening workshop and room for more artisans.
A grand opening celebration is set for Friday, Dec. 3 at the century-old building that took about a year to renovate. About 10 artists are expected to display their creations paintings, photography, furniture, modern art quilts, ornaments and more. Itll be catered by their neighbor, Lil Bo Pub & Grille.
The building was built in the early 1900s, 1906 exactly, says Ben Brown, owner of Dragonfly Woodcraft who did much of the remodeling work. There was an addition in 1947 and in the 1950s they added the loading dock.
A Georgia native, Bazemore studied interior design and has adapted that background to her jewelry making. She crafts works of art in sterling silver and 14-karat gold, using beach glass and stones from Lake Michigan. Ive been doing this for 25 years, she says.
For the past decade or so, shes also been busy renovating vintage buildings. Her first project was her home, a Traverse City church that she remodeled into a residence. Then she turned her attention to City Studio, a gallery and exhibition space created by herself through a renovation of a Craftsman-style bungalow on the corner of 8th Street and Hastings.
That building dates back to the 1930s and is located in a part of Traverse City that was rezoned commercial from residential, so the renovation is an excellent example of adaptive re-use a concept straight out of the New Urbanism movement, in which an existing structure is renovated to fit the context of the new zoning.
At Cogs Creek Collective, rather than an old dry cleaners, the building more resembles a fortress, with concrete walls that are three feet thick in some places. The basement still houses a heavy-duty vault where furs and other valuables were routinely stored for Coddington customers.
Bazemore and her workers spent about 200 hours refurbishing the buildings old steel windows, the cleaners old glass block windows with modern aluminum store front style windows with double-paned tempered glass.
The project took miles of electrical wiring, extensive duct work, plumbing, drywall, insulation, priming and painting over the past year.
Local chef and baker Ralph Humes will operate a 740-square-foot sandwich and dessert shop, Sweet Alchemy Lounge and Café. He was a partner in Old Towns Soul Hole before leaving the restaurant and is now teamed with Pearl and Pete Brown, owners of the bread company, Old Mission Multigrain.
Clothing designer Neashasha will display her creations in a 400-square foot site in the collective. All of her clothing utilizes collected, recycled and found materials.
Knife sharpener Tony Valerio has a workshop for his VSI Sharpening service, which has been keeping edges sharp for clients at hair salons, the food service industry, animal groomers, floral shops and more. He also serves residential customers through his mobile services.
Weve had a lot of curiosity seekers stop by, says Bazemore. The neighbors are welcome to stop in and see us. Were just thrilled that well have art for the holidays.
Cogs Creek Collective is located at 124 North Maple Street in Traverse City. For more information, call (231) 620-0458.