The Michigan Strategic Fund approved three projects that “will create vibrant spaces and boost tourism,” including in Grand Haven and Ludington.
The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) board on Tuesday approved community revitalization projects in Grand Haven, Hillsdale and Ludington that it said will help the cities to create vibrant features, such as hotels and housing, to attract and keep talent while also promoting tourism, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
The MSF board also approved a tech transfer program to help grow the state’s high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“The projects approved (Tuesday) lay a path for economic growth and recovery by increasing resources for high-tech startups in Michigan while renewing underused and vacant spaces to bring much-needed housing and vitality to three important communities,” said Mark Burton, CEO of the MEDC. “From supporting vibrant downtowns to strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem, we remain committed to building the Michigan places where people want to live, work, visit and play.”
East Lansing-based River Caddis Development LLC and its new entity Peerless Caddis LLC plans to redevelop a mostly vacant site that previously housed a manufacturing facility and construct four multifamily residential buildings in the city of Grand Haven. The project includes the demolition of four existing buildings at the site and also will include publicly maintained improvements, including sidewalks, parking, roadway, and curbs and gutters. When complete, Peerless Flats will consist of 124 year-round, market-rate residential units and an amenities building that will include a kitchenette, meeting space, an exercise area and a community room.
The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $24.7 million and create three full-time equivalent jobs. The project will redevelop a long-underutilized site within downtown Grand Haven and will bring new residents to the area who will support existing retail businesses and restaurants, and further establish the downtown as a year-round destination. In addition, Peerless Flats will be within walking distance of Lake Michigan, the Grand River, the farmers market and other community amenities. The project also is expected to serve as a catalyst for additional economic activity in the area.
MSF on Tuesday approved a $4.75 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan participation award in support of the project. The city of Grand Haven Brownfield Redevelopment Authority also received MSF approval of a brownfield work plan that includes $1,378,865 in state tax capture that will help with the remediation of brownfield conditions at the site.
The Brownfield Redevelopment Authority agreed to support the project through a local portion of the Brownfield Tax Increment Financing Plan for $1,220,962 to reimburse for brownfield eligible activity costs, as well as $1,114,889 in local-only eligible activity reimbursement. Grand Haven is certified with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program and is a master-level community in the Michigan Main Street program.
“High-density residential growth in Michigan downtowns is a promising trend and this project will trigger many other such developments around our downtown. New residents, tax base, spending power and vitality bode very well for our regional economy,” said Pat McGinnis, Grand Haven city manager. “Many hands make light work, and in this case, we got a hand from the owners, the developer, MEDC, the Brownfield Authority, Main Street Downtown Development Authority, EGLE (Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy) and the (Grand Haven) City Council.”
The Michigan Strategic Fund on Tuesday approved the Haskell Building/Lofts on Rowe community development project at 801 N. Rowe St. in Ludington. The project will convert a long-vacant manufacturing building into a residential structure with office space on the first floor. Built in 1890, the building has had numerous uses, most of which were manufacturing. It has been vacant for many years and has fallen into disrepair, requiring a full rehabilitation. Once completed, the project will include 65 affordable housing units and one office unit, will create a new parking lot and sidewalks, and also will relocate two municipal facilities.
The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $12.7 million and create three jobs, and it will transform a blighted, unutilized property into a historic and vibrant place near downtown Ludington while also bringing year-round affordable housing, especially needed for the local tourism workforce, to the area.
The city of Ludington received MSF approval of $2 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for the elimination of blight at the project site. In addition, the Mason County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of a brownfield work plan that includes $1,554,279 in state tax capture that will assist with the remediation of brownfield conditions at the site.
The city of Ludington is contributing an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax abatement for 12 years, estimated to be worth $1,825,802. Other local support includes the local portion of the brownfield TIF for MSF eligible activities estimated at $1,574,302 and for EGLE eligible activities at $219,798. The Pennies from Heaven Foundation contributed a $1 million grant to the project. The city is engaged with the MEDC’s RRC program.
“The renovation and complete remodel of the Haskell building into an amazing multifamily workforce housing facility will not only make an incredible impact on the immediate neighborhood but also (will) begin to address the greater housing issue,” said Mitchell Foster, Ludington city manager. “Working with Michigan Community Capital and their partners on this project has been a pleasant experience, and we are grateful for the Michigan Strategic Fund Board for their confidence in this project.”
Lofts on Rowe is a single purpose entity formed and owned by Michigan Community Capital (MCC). MCC is a private nonprofit that was created to attract and deploy capital for use in job creation and community development in Michigan.
Tech transfer support
The MSF on Tuesday also approved the University Early Stage Proof of Concept – ADVANCE Fund request for proposals to strengthen the ecosystem that enables entrepreneurship, commercialization and new businesses in the state.
The University Early Stage Proof of Concept – ADVANCE Fund awards grants to university faculty with early-stage technology ideas to encourage the development of competitive-edge technologies to create startups in Michigan. The program provides matching funds that create a strong incentive for faculty with early-stage technologies at Michigan universities to engage with their university’s technology transfer office to achieve critical early-stage milestones that lead to commercialization activities.
The purpose of the RFP is to award a grant for $250,000 to a university for the implementation of the program. Additional information on the RFP is available online.