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Michigan Officials Overjoyed at Chaldeans Rescue of Landmark Building and Banquet Facility
By Bedre Konja :: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 :: 19451 Views :: Article Rating :: Business & Finance

Michigan, USA - A once dilapidated and run-down historical facility has been rescued.  A reincarnation of the venerable old Stephenson Club has opened as the Stephenson Haus banquet facility.  Officials from Hazel Park and Madison Heights recently welcomed new owners Frank Sitto, Sam Denha and Amer Dado at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  The Chaldean business leaders took charge and rescued the historical darling and brought back the magic.  The Stephenson Haus banquet facility will be able to serve over 600 guests in elegance.

"We're pleased in the investment they have made," said Hazel Park City Manager Edward Klobucher. "The Stephenson Haus had always been one of Hazel Park's signature businesses. We hope they are very successful. The new owners seem very serious about running a quality business. They kept the name and spent a lot of money. The interior looks fantastic. We now have a place for Hazel Park residents to have weddings and parties."

Cathy Hardenburg, the Stephenson Haus banquet and catering manager, said the owners purchased the building at 25000 N. Chrysler Drive, just south of I-696 at the Madison Heights border, in October and began renovating it in January.  Extensive structural work had to be done bringing some of the best development and interior minds together.  Floors have been retiled and carpeted and rooms and walls renovated, Hardenburg said much of the work like electrical and plumbing which can’t be seen were challenging.

"The building is more than 50 years old," she said. "A lot of the unseen work had to be taken care of."  The building has banquet rooms on three different floors, seating 165, 225 and 250 persons, she said.  

"We believe it has a lot of potential," Hardenburg said. "The response has been unbelievable and positive. We're here to support the community. We are offering to work with any budget no matter how small or large. We can customize any reception."

The owners will operate the Stephenson Haus as a banquet facility and possibly open it for buffets on holidays and occasionally for dinner theater and comedy, Hardenburg said.   The Stephenson Haus's location is ideal because it's at I-75 and I-696 with many hotels and motels nearby, she added.

With a background in food and beverages, Hardenburg left the Shenandoah Country Club where Stephenson Haus owners were members, she said. 

The Stephenson Club originally opened in 1952 as a $100,000 elite club at 10 Mile and Stephenson Highway before I-75 and I-696 were built.    When the interstate highways came boring through the elegant complex was forced to move two times.    The first was in 1964 with a new building 300 feet to the east because the original building was in the path of the I-75 right-of-way. In the 1970s another new Stephenson Club was built 100 feet to the southeast because of I-696. The building is virtually inside the I-75 and I-696 interchange, and at various times was known as the Stephenson Haus as it is today.

Two years ago previous owners announced the landmark structure would re-open as Valentina's Restaurant and Banquet Hall. However, Klobucher said that project never got off the ground.  It was not until a group of Chaldean entrepreneurs decided to take over the project and save the day.

The elegant banquet facility holds on to its historical charm while offering modern amenities.  With Chaldean business leaders behind the effort the facility is practically a sure success.  Able to serve various size groups and the events the Stephenson Haus adds to the portfolio of Southeast Michigan favorite dinner or event destinations.  

Bedre Konja is a senior business consultant and entrepreneurial manager for Illinois and Michigan based, Magi Consulting,   Mr. Konja is a CPA and licensed tax attorney.  Magi Consulting specialize in helping entrepreneurs start, grow, and manage their business.   Services offered by Magi Consulting  include capital fund management, new business development, acquisitions and mergers, organizational policy and procedures, technology integration, auditing, and assisting private companies in going public.   Mr. Konja lives in the Chicago suburb with his wife, and six children.