The bad news for the is good news for .
Officials from Cornucopia, the nonprofit the owner of the natural foods market, announced on Monday that the company was buying the on Sloane Avenue.
The building will be used as the vocational training center, kitchen and catering center for Nature’s Bin, which provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
“We’ve been searching in Lakewood for the past year to have an off-site commissary,” said Scott Duennes, the executive director of Cornucopia. “This is tremendous for us. This will help to launch our catering program.”
He said the store’s current training/baking/kitchen space will increase from 600 square feet to more than 3,500 square feet.
“It’s really going to help us develop a food service curriculum,” Duennes added.
He also said that the expansion would free up additional space for grocery shopping.
“When I heard that McDonald’s was looking at the Detroit Theatre, I thought ‘my gosh, maybe we can take over some of their equipment.’ Typically when they shut down a building, that’s 30-plus years old, they’d just tear it down.”
The new space will also provide more parking for the grocery store’s employees.
Duennes said the deal hasn’t gone through yet, and declined to comment on the purchase price, but added that “McDonald’s was very fair in enabling us to purchase the building.”
Mike Lewis, the area real estate manger for McDonald’s, said the company is “happy to be a part” of the deal.
“We wished we could have told this story earlier,” he said. “But at the end of the day it’s a win-win for everyone.”
Lewis said that the building will undergo what the company calls “de-arching,” a process that removes the Golden Arches and alters the recognizable McDonald’s roofline.
“We didn’t see the need to promote that we were going to sell the property. Once we realized that Nature’s Bin was interested, that was it. It made a good fit. This isn’t a money-making venture for us — we’re trying to do what’s right.”
Mayor Michael Summers said that the fast-food chain “went a long way, by bypassing other commercial opportunities” to help Nature’s Bin get the property.
“From the very onset, what to do with the existing store was a major question,” said Summers. “Nature’s Bin emerged as the best owner of that building and early on McDonald’s acknowledged that, and worked to see if they could make that happen.”