Brighton property broker to redevelop former Sagano site in city center

Brighton lost a staple town center restaurant when the Sagano Japanese Bistro and Steakhouse closed in January, but the new owners of the Main Street building intend to renovate the site into several new storefronts that could eventually offer new retail and restaurant options.

Local realtor Todd Buckley is a partner in a newly formed limited liability company called Mill Pond Centennial Building, which purchased the building at 312, 314, and 316 W. Main St.

“The property is again going to be divided into three storefronts,” Buckley said, adding that construction will begin in the coming months.

The building housed a D&C store until the 1980s, when it was converted into three storefronts, which have been occupied by various businesses over the years.

When Sagano opened the Brighton site in 2009, the approximately 7,700 square foot building was modified to house the unique business.

Buckley said the storefronts will be rented out to tenants or eventually owner-occupied.

“We are still working out the details of what will go there. Nothing is set yet,” he said. He added that he would prefer a mix of business types.

“Ideally at least one of those spaces would be a restaurant or a tavern,” he said.

Storefronts can also be occupied by commercial spaces or offices.

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Buckley said there was a chance part of the building was owner-occupied, but did not share details.

He and his wife Natalie Buckley own a Main Street business. Todd Buckley is a Buckley Jolley Real Estate Team partner and Natalie Buckley opened the Wallflower Mercantile gift shop earlier this year.

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“Being lifelong residents of Brighton, we’re going to make sure we have good tenants there,” said Todd Buckley. “We have always been interested (in buying property downtown) and being in the real estate business we felt this was an opportunity we could not pass up as it is one of the landmark buildings in the city center.”

Pam McConeghy, president and chief executive of the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce, said Brighton needed more downtown retail.

“I always preach this and I really believe because we have wonderful restaurants, but we need more retail to support restaurants and restaurants would support retail,” McConeghy said. “I’m thrilled that (Buckley) is buying this building because I know everything in there is going to be quality.”

Sagano leaves Brighton

The Brighton site announced its closure in a January post on its Facebook page.

Emily Huot, the restaurant’s human resources manager, said Livingston’s Daily in January, several reasons prompted the company to sell the Brighton site and focus on the four remaining sites in Fenton, Flint, Clarkston and Warren.

Huot cited product costs and staffing shortages as challenges.

The Brighton site closed three days after a motion to settle an employee lawsuit over tips of nearly $500,000 was filed in federal court.

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Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Timar at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @jennifer_timar.

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