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University to buy Blimpy Burger property

Teresa Mathew/Daily
Kinesiology junior Jeffrey Kosofsky eats at Blimpy Burger's current location on South Division Street on Thursday. Kosofsky said he has eaten at the restaurant once a month over the last three years. When asked his thoughts on the re-location, he said: "As long as they re-open, it's not that sad. Still, there is a lot of tradition in this spot." Buy this photo

By Alicia Adamczyk, Daily Staff Reporter
Published December 6, 2012

Though Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger will have been a fixture on South Division Street for 60 years come March, the restaurant will soon be forced to relocate.

The University reached a deal with the owner of the property on which Blimpy Burger is located, meaning the restaurant will have to find a new location during the summer of 2013, according to Blimpy employee Kevin Gorine.

Gorine said Rich Magner, the current owner of Blimpy Burger, told employees that the famous burger joint will move out of the space when their lease is up in August.

Magner said he knew his lease was coming to an end in August, but he hadn’t given much thought to renewing before the University made a bid. Magner confirmed that the restaurant will remain open and operating until August.

“It is what it is,” Magner said. “If it had been a different person purchasing it, it might have been where I could have renegotiated the lease with them or that kind of thing.”

He said he hopes to relocate to an area close to campus, either downtown or on State Street, which will take time to figure out.

“It’s not a fun thing for anyone when you have an icon in one location for so long,” he said. “But I (need) to look at the positive side of it and hope that we can do it in a different spot.”

Magner, who has worked at Blimpy for more than 20 years, said his employees usually work for him for several years and he hopes the move won’t negatively impact them.

“My employees have kind of invested themselves in this place ... it’s a part of you,” he said. “But for the most part they’re young and if things go bad, they’ll land on their feet.”

The owner said he hopes the generations of loyal customers will take solace in the fact that he plans to reopen Blimpy elsewhere. He also made a point to emphasize that he is no way angry with the University or his landlord over the move, and will make every effort to make a seamless transition.

“I want to keep Krazy Jim’s legacy going,” he said.

Michael Magner, the son of current the Blimpy Burger owner, said the news of the University’s purchase came as a “shock” to him. He said though his father had the option of bidding to keep the property, he couldn’t match the amount that the University has reportedly offered. University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the University could not comment on the property acquisition until the University’s Board of Regents approves the purchase.

The University owns a parking structure on South Division and two houses on South Division and East Jefferson Streets. These properties are close to Blimpy and may suggest that the University plans to build a new structure in their place, AnnArbor.com reported. It is unclear whether the University has made bids on the other buildings on the street.

LSA junior Lukose Thampy said he eats at Blimpy regularly, and, though he’s worried about the location change, he doesn’t foresee that changing his eating habits.

“The building’s really nice: It’s old; it has a nice history, a nice location,” Thampy said of the current location. “It’s got a nice flavor down there, and I feel if it were to move down to like South Forest that would just be awful.”

LSA junior David Hunt said the move probably wouldn’t affect whether or not he dines at Blimpy in the fall.

“I enjoy the burgers,” Hunt said. “As long as it’s not too far away I’d still go.”

Daily Staff Photographer Teresa Mathew contributed to this report.


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