built in 1903, the alpena landmark, now known as the center building , was originally owned by david d. hanover and known as the hanover block. its first occupant was the mercantile store, hawley and fitzgerald, which was known as "The daylight store" because of the large windows and skylights. the store later became fitzgerald and Musial company and then musial and mathison, remaining a department store for many years.
Local residents may recall its days at the home of montgomery ward from 1938 until the 1960s. later it became gately's furniture before closing its doors in the 1980s. in 1989, it was re-opened as a multi-tenant, office and retail space.
in 1997, the building was purchased by its current owners and underwent a dramatic restoration including renovation of the original hardwood floors, tin ceilings, exterior brickwork and roof, as well as complete upgrades to the electrical, heating and air conditioning.
in 2014, more renovations were done including the addition of folding glass walls on the front of the building allowing patrons to enjoy an indoor/outdoor dining experience at the Fresh Palate Restaurant or thunder bay winery. a complete restaurant and kitchen renovation was also completed by the fresh palate as well as the addition of the nucleus bar.the first floor is now fully dedicated to food and beverage,
the second floor is a quiet private office space occupied by several professional offices, including wenzel bennett & Harris law office, northern therapeutic center, alpena therapy associates and higgins family chiropractic.
the third floor is occupied by art in the loft, a large community arts center featuring year round exhibits, classes, events and a culinary center.
the center building has home to many successful businesses whose owners have shared a vision of a vibrant, revitalized downtown. that revival is happening and can be seen in the visitors and residents shopping, eating, and strolling in downtown alpena as our community re-discovers its greatest treasures.
in 2003, on the eve of its centennial the center building was honored to be granted eligibility for inclusion in the national register.