The future of a historic building in downtown Spartanburg was decided over sushi.
Spartanburg entrepreneur Michael “Mici” Fluegge said he was eating lunch recently at Miyako Sushi Group off Magnolia Street when he ran into Andrew Babb, a commercial broker with NAI Earle Furman.
The chance meeting led to a conversation that resulted in Fluegge and his wife, Leah Kent, purchasing the former Turnipseed Law Firm building at 128 Magnolia St.
“We started talking and before long he was showing me the building,” said Fluegge, originally of Hamburg, Germany. “I thought it was a great opportunity to be a part of all of the growth going on in downtown Spartanburg.”
Property records showed the couple closed on the three-story, 6,600-square-foot building on July 20. They purchased it via their company 128 Magnolia St LLC from English Hylton LLC for $415,000.
The 117-year-old building has sat idle for about three years.
Records refer to the building as the McMakin Store Building, although its last tenant was the office of the late Spartanburg lawyer and former State Sen. David Turnipseed, who died in January after battling cancer.
Turnipseed purchased the property in May 2006, according to property records.
Babb said Turnipseed was one of the first people to invest in the Magnolia Street corridor south of Saint John Street, which, at the time, contributed to the revitalization efforts underway in downtown Spartanburg.
Fluegge formerly owned a multi-unit franchise for Massage Envy that he sold a few years ago to pursue a variety of ventures in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida.
He currently serves as a regional developer and franchisee for the Joint Chiropractic chain, a regional developer for Hammer & Nails Grooming Shop for Guys, and as a regional developer for Modern Acupuncture.
Kent, is originally of Jonesville, S.C.
The couple lived away from Spartanburg, but decided to move to the county in 2002 in order to be closer to Kent’s family, Fluegge said.
They recently moved from Campobello to a home they purchased on Spartanburg’s east side.
“We are committed to Spartanburg,” he said. “This is our home.”
Fluegge said the couple is looking at a number of different opportunities for the building.
They hope to lease the space and bring in a concept that will add to downtown Spartanburg’s diversity and momentum.
The space is between Olive and Then Some and a 6,000-square-foot building that will soon house a satellite facility for the Children’s Museum of the Upstate.
“It could be something that is family-friendly,” Fluegge said. “It could be a new restaurant, museum, or shop. At this point, we’re looking at different proposals. It’s going to be something good.”
Fluegge said the couple is not opposed to investing in improving the building’s façade.
In August 2016, the city completed a streetscaping project along Magnolia Street between Dunbar and St. John streets designed to improve storefront visibility, create additional outdoor public space, and significantly enhance the street’s pedestrian experience.
The project included changes to the street’s landscaping, removing the existing trees located on the sidewalk, and replacing them with trees planted primarily around the patio spaces, according to the city.
The sidewalk was widened and replaced and four “sidewalk patios,” meant to serve as outdoor dining space, were added.
One of those patios sits in front of Fluegge’s building.
“We think [the streetscaping] was great,” Fluegge said. “The city did a wonderful job and it’s made Magnolia Street much more attractive.”
Babb represent both the buyer and seller in the transaction.
For leasing opportunities, Babb can be reached at 864-398-4444.