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Posted on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

Downtown Ann Arbor's Fifth Quarter bar listed for sale at $1.8 million

By Paula Gardner

The owners of the Fifth Quarter in downtown Ann Arbor recently listed the property for sale, signaling a possible shift in operations for the troubled bar and an opportunity for a buyer to reposition the building.

The Fifth Quarter building, located at 210 S. Fifth Ave., formerly housed the Ann Arbor 1&2 movie theater before it was turned into offices in the 1990s.

Now, as city officials target the troubled operation for possible non-renewal of its liquor license, the two-story building that houses the bar is available for an asking price of $1.8 million.


The building housing the Fifth Quarter also has upper-level offices and six on-site parking spaces.

fifth quarter

The building is owned by 210 South Fifth Ave LLC, an entity registered to Jeff Starman. He wasn't available when I called his office to ask about the listing.

It's assessed at $956,400, giving it an estimated market value of $1.9 million.

Starman and his partnership bought the building in 2006 for an undisclosed price. The previous owner - Habra Enterprises - paid $1.5 million in 2001.

Listing broker Jim Chaconas of Colliers International said he hopes potential buyers see potential in the building and its proximity to downtown and campus.

"It's a great location right in the middle of town," he said.

The upper level already is outfitted as offices. Another potential use is conversion to residential lofts, he said.

"It's got ceiling height and 6 on-site parking lots," Chaconas said. "And there's already an elevator."

The property is 0.18 acres, and the building sits between a parking lot and an office building.

The listing says the bar business and its liquor license also could be available.

The Fifth Quarter property is one of two downtown Ann Arbor buildings on the market that house bars: The other is Nick's Cavern Club at 210 S. First St.

Owner Nick Easton listed the bar as the economy tanked, and he continues to operate it.

The market is improving, Easton said this week, so he's hopeful he'll find a buyer as lending becomes more available again. That building, with 4 floors in the converted warehouse and 21,000 square feet, is listed at $2.9 million.

Meanwhile, while the business future of the Fifth Quarter faces some hurdles - like a back tax debt of $159,361 from 2008 and 2009, according to Washtenaw County - the property itself could benefit as the economy rebounds, Chaconas said.

"It's a great spot now for redevelopment," he said. "... If somebody was really ambitious, they could make the main floor into parking and go higher."

Paula Gardner is Business News Director of Contact her at 734-623-2586 or by email. Sign up for the weekly Business Review newsletter, distributed every Thursday, here.


JA Jones

Fri, Mar 25, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

A previous article sited, amongst the many problems, over-serving customers. Sounds like irresponsible ownership, with the focus on soley on making a buck. Why isn't the other owner's name in this article, too? Maybe he's trying to disassociated himself from his mess. Good luck with the sale, Mr. Francis Clark.


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

Cavern Club would make an awesome restaurant...needs some TLC and updates, but it's doable. As a club, it doesn't have the right layout (e.g., the weird "stage" off to one side, and no dancing room.) A restaurant with a local-food ethos that is unpretentious, fresh, and interesting. I think the space used to be a cheese-aging/curing space back-in-the-day?


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 1:46 p.m.

It seems to me this "sale" is a firesale...before the business is closed by the authorities....but it also suspicious that the price is so high...almost like it is priced "not to sell".

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

Hey, how about restoring the old Ann Arbor Theater (1 & 2)? We could use another movie venue in downtown and I bet the audiences will be far better behaved?

Moscow On The Huron

Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

Does the asking price include the weekly fights out front, or does the buyer have to provide those himself?

David Briegel

Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 3:21 a.m.

I also loved the films at the Fifth Forum. Great memories. My buddy worked there. Their "variety" was really appreciated by the Ann Abor audiences! Thank goodness we still have the Michigan Theater.


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

I too have great memories of the Fifth Forum theater from the contest to name it when it opened in the Sixties to all the great films I saw there., Too bad it's fallen on bad times. We (me and the theater) were young together.


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 12:08 a.m.

The only curse is that it's not still a theater. I saw some great movies there, from Gone With The Wind to Flesh For Frankenstein, and the whole gamut in-between, stuff that would never play anywhere else.

Tom Joad

Tue, Mar 15, 2011 : 11:56 p.m.

This place is cursed. Stay out of the area on Sunday night around closing'll thank me.