UP housing projects get state aid

LANSING–Projects that will bring housing and support growth and economic recovery in three communities in the Upper Peninsula have received support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced.

The projects are expected to generate a total capital investment of $1.6 million, bringing new vitality and economic activity to the communities of Iron Mountain, Houghton and Munising.

Eden Property Collection LLC received a $414,950 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant to support a $1 million project to convert the second floor of a historic mixed-use building that once served as the town fire hall into seven residential apartments in downtown Iron Mountain.

When completed, the Sandstone Studios project will consist of one and two-bedroom market-rate units and a rooftop terrace that will offer common outdoor space and sustainable green elements to the residents.

The city of Iron Mountain is providing a 10-year Commercial Rehabilitation Act tax exemption valued at $140,000.

“There is an acute need for new housing options in the area due to growth of the area’s employment base,” said Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance Director Lois Ellis. “The renovation of this historic property will not only address the housing shortage, but will also serve as a catalyst for additional private investment in the future.”

Also, the city of Houghton received $442,374 in Community Development Block Grant funds to support the $231,647 Rental Rehab at 510 and 515 Shelden Avenue project. The project will activate new residential space in two historic, mixed-use buildings in the heart of downtown. One includes the transformation of the entire vacant second floor in the building at 515 Shelden into five residential units. The other building is a portion of the historic Lode Theater at 510 Shelden, where two new residential units will be created in the vacant portion of the building.

The total project will create 4,335 square feet of residential space downtown and will focus on preserving historic or traditional downtown features. At least four of the units will be occupied by low- to moderate-income households for one year.

The city of Houghton will make an anticipated contribution of four overnight parking permits for the low- to moderate-income households, with an expected value of $1,780.

Houghton is also receiving $253,075 in CDBG funds for interior improvements needed for the Rental Rehab at Lower Houghton 308-310 Shelden Avenue in downtown Houghton. The project will create new residential space on the rear lower level of an existing mixed-use building. When completed, the vacant space will include four new residential units. The remainder of the building currently contains two commercial spaces. Three of the four apartments will be reserved for low- to moderate-income households. The project is expected to result in private investment of $197,900 and will further meet the demand for residential space in downtown Houghton. The city is expected to contribute three overnight parking permits for the low- to moderate-income households, valued at $1,335.

“With these two developers making significant investments into their downtown buildings and working with MEDC every step of the way, we have another reason to be hopeful about the future,” said Houghton City Manager Eric Waara. “With these projects, Houghton will have two-plus buildings that were underutilized for decades which now will be reactivated to increase the availability of quality housing in our downtown and add to the great stock we have. Their vision and creativity in finding these opportunities and being able to seize on them with MEDC’s assistance will bring more residents to downtown, strengthen our local economy and add to the level of activity that makes our downtown buzz already.”

Finally, the city of Munising received $192,500 in CDBG funds for interior improvements needed for the $87,711 Harley Apartments Rental Rehab project at 102 East Munising in Munising. The project will activate new residential space on the second floor of an existing historic, mixed-use building in the heart of downtown. When completed, the currently vacant and uninhabitable building with include three new one-bedroom apartments on the second floor, with retail space on the first floor. Two of the apartments will be reserved for low- to moderate-income households for five years. The project will create 1,750 square feet of residential space and will focus on preserving historic or traditional downtown features where possible.

The City of Munising is expected to contribute approximately $5,000 toward the exterior improvements to the building.

“The CDBG grant will not help improve a commercial building in the heart of Munising’s downtown district, but this has given us the ability to rehabilitate old units that were in disrepair and will give low- and moderate-income residents the opportunity to live in the core of our downtown,” said Munising Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Kathy Reynolds.

For more information on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org.

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