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Fabiano Brothers Market Place Corporate Center May Draw 8 More Enterprises

$16 Million Development Planned As Catalyst for Hundreds of New Area Jobs

September 26, 2007       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Joseph Fabiano II, James Fabiano Sr., and James C. Fabiano II, left to right, wield shovels at the groundbreaking of the Market Place Corporate Center.
Fabiano Brothers office/warehouse complex has modernistic warehouse design by Jack Holleran of HDA Architects, St. Louis, Missouri.

The biggest development in Valley Center Technology Park, Fabiano Brothers, has a new name: Market Place Corporate Center.

But behind the name is an old business model -- the family business --with more than 120 years of history going back to Italy and 95 years of operations in the United States.

The vision of the Fabianos extends from their nearly 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art distribution center on 21 acres to a new business park of 45 additional acres to be divided into lots and sold to other enterprises.

The entire project reportedly is estimated at a $16 million development, touted as a huge boost to the Bay County economy.

The Market Place concept follows the original vision of Gennaro Fabiano, the grandfather of James Fabiano Sr., who opened a cantina in San Ippalito, Italy, in 1885, offering fruit, vegetables and home-made wine.

Coming to the U.S. through the Ellis Island immigration port, the elder Fabiano first worked on the railroad and saved his money. Then beginning in 1911 he established fruit stores in Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Saginaw and Mt. Pleasant and sold "near" beer during Prohibition. Gennaro died in 1930. When Prohibition ended, the family-run fruit stores began selling "high-powered" beer, Mr. Fabiano Sr. related.

Fabiano Brothers is consolidating their Mt. Pleasant and Saginaw operations in the new center at Mackinaw Road and US-10 with their wholesale beer and wine business as the anchor of the new development. Fabiano Brothers alone will have about 300 employees.

The company distributes beer, wine and liquor in the eastern, central and northern counties of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. He noted that the family business now is in the fourth and fifth generations while many such enterprises are lucky to survive the second or third generation. "This has been a proud journey for the company and its workers," he commented.

He noted that the family has many friends in Bay County, having owned property at Athlone Beach on Saginaw Bay in Bangor Township for about 10 years. "And we hope to make many new friends, for that's what our business is all about -- making friends."

"As a family we are proud of what we have developed and we believe others will be, too," said James C. Fabiano II, adding: "We are encouraging other companies to move here."

James Fabiano said the Monitor Township location was chosen about nine years ago after talking to William Bartlett, manager of Straits Corporation, whose headquarters is located in Valley Center.

Mr. Bartlett, chairman of the Monitor Township Downtown Development Authority, said about $2 million in infrastructure improvements were financed through tax increment financing (TIF). That TIF vehicle is paying for storm and sanitary sewers and road improvements including realigning Straits Drive to serve the new complex.

The Monitor Township Board and the Bay County Board of Commissioners were also involved he commented: "All these entities had to line up and we made it a reality."

Mr. Bartlett credited Fred Hollister, CEO of Bay Future, Inc., with being the front man on the project for the past couple of years. Mr. Hollister said: "It's been one heck of a roller coaster ride, noting: "It's fun to seen dirt being turned and a business start to grow." Hollister said he "was inspired by what the Fabianos wanted to do and what Bay Future ought to do."

County Commissioner Brian Elder, who was chairman of the board during part of the time the project was in planning stages, said: "You chose well when you chose Bay County. This is a great place to raise a family and a business and to recapture taxes to finance infrastructure."

The operating entity of the project is Northern Michigan Land Investments, owned by James C. Fabiano II and Joseph R. Fabiano II.


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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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