Foundation awards $2M to economic development agency


Courtesy Battle Creek Unlimited

A foundation has given an economic development agency $2 million to help spur growth in the region.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded the funds to Battle Creek Unlimited, the city’s economic development arm, to establish and administer the Downtown Battle Creek Real Estate Improvement Fund.

Over the next two years, the funds will be used to help developers increase vibrancy and job growth, eliminate blight and deterioration, and contribute to historic preservation in downtown Battle Creek.

The fund is designed to address major hurdles faced by those wanting to invest in downtown Battle Creek. Grant dollars are focused on fixed assets of the real estate with the goal of revitalizing vacant space, improving code compliance, structural and mechanical issues and other upgrades.

Grants will be capped at 40% of a project’s total cost up to $250,000. Property owners, existing businesses and entrepreneurs can apply. Application forms with further details can be found online.

“Businesses want to join the transformative momentum in downtown Battle Creek, but we consistently hear that many have issues finding the right space,” said Joe Sobieralski, president and CEO of BCU. “Many of the vacant facilities downtown need to be brought up to code and dramatically improved so that business owners can move in. This real estate improvement fund helps bridge that gap in a meaningful way.”

The new program builds on recent projects, namely Record Box, a multipurpose development by Restore 269, and New Holland Brewing, which were both previously awarded funding to make various upgrades at their future downtown Battle Creek locations.

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