A new luxury car wash is coming to Traverse City, with developers planning to break ground on the East Bay Township project later this year. The Ticker reported on Monday that the 1840 US-31 site of the former Hooters restaurant would be torn down this fall to make way for a “brand-new enterprise.” That business will be called Green Mitt and will consist not only of an express car wash facility, but also space for food trucks and outdoor dining.
The concept for the Green Mitt car wash has been reviewed by the East Bay Township Planning Commission; as of yet, Claire Karner, director of planning and zoning for East Bay Township, says a formal application for the property has not been submitted. However, Nick Spallone – designer for the project – says he expects to finalize township matters at an upcoming July meeting. Spallone is the lead designer and developer for a Chicago-based company called Car Wash Pro Designers, which has built hundreds of luxury car washes nationwide. In Traverse City, Car Wash Pro Designers is working on behalf of Mark Warner, who is listed as the “potential owner” of Green Mitt in commission meeting minutes.
During the meeting, commissioners raised concerns that a car wash would not fit with the “beach district vision” of the US-31 East Bay stretch. But Spallone says that his company is often able to get car wash buildings approved in “areas that are very niche” – including “restaurant rows” like the one along US-31 – due to the unique building design.
“The building is designed to look like a bank,” Spallone explains. “That was the intention, specifically so that it could be put into areas that would typically frown upon a car wash.” He adds that the Green Mitt site plan incorporates an area where food trucks can set up shop and customers can sit down and eat. “So we’re kind of playing to the theme of that restaurant row. We took every little nuance that that [East Bay Township] requires for that road and implemented it into the site.”
For the food truck part of the 1.66-acre property, Spallone says Green Mitt would likely reach out to some of the food trucks that typically operate in other parts of Traverse City – including downtown at The Little Fleet – to see if they’d be interested in expanding to the East Bay side of town. The food trucks wouldn’t necessarily be at Green Mitt all the time. Rather, Spallone predicts that “we’d arrange certain days for that and have an area completely dedicated to it.”
The car wash itself would be 150 feet long and 35 feet wide and would feature an exterior of limestone and brick. The wash will also be eco-friendly, with all-LED lighting, motion-activated vacuum systems, minimal light or noise pollution, and a commitment to use exclusively biodegradable plant-based cleaning products. Spallone says that, where the average car wash uses 70-80 gallons in a single wash, Green Mitt would only use 15.
Barring any further delays at the township level, Spallone expects construction on the Green Mitt site would begin in the fall. The goal is for the business to be “up and functioning” by February 2021.