Iconic downtown Howell building sold to local builder

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Jeff and Colleen Doyle, owners of Doyle Homes Inc., have purchased the former Howell Auto Parts building at 309 E. Grand River Ave. in downtown Howell.

Originally built in the 1920s, the three-story building was at one time home to a bowling alley and a roller-skating rink. In 1935, the building suffered severe fire damage, which resulted in it becoming a two-story structure. Before becoming an auto-parts store in the 1950s. it had once housed an armory and a Catholic school as well.

The Doyles purchased the building from James Young, a former mayor of Howell whose family has owned the building since the 1950s.

“With its art deco features, the building reminds us of the Roaring Twenties era,” said Jeff Doyle. “Its name, The Pearl, represents the opulence of that era, as well as our vision for it as a landmark downtown Howell destination.”

Currently the building’s first-floor is a blank canvas, offering 4,500 square feet of lease space. It’s a flexible venue ideally suited for a restauranteur or business entrepreneur. A major attraction is The Pearl’s rear parking lot. It is one of the few downtown buildings with dedicated parking. Although there has been interest in the space, Doyle indicated it is still for lease.

Renovation plans call for fully restoring the second floor for use as residential space, featuring a large condominium and several smaller apartments.

“We understand how convenient and inviting living in a vibrant downtown like Howell can be” Doyle said. “It’s a highly sought-after lifestyle.”

A planned highlight will be the roof-top deck overlooking Grand River Avenue and the Livingston County Courthouse, providing a terrific view of Howell’s many festivals and parades.

Lead architect on The Pearl is Marvin Steiner of Steiner Associates LLC of Livonia. Construction is slated to begin in later this year. Doyle Homes has been building in Southeastern Michigan since 1997, providing personalized customer service and uncompromising attention to detail.

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.


  1. Great mixed use development and preservation of a landmark as well. It’s a win -win.

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