Community revitalization projects to bring new opportunities for economic growth, tourism and local vitality around Michigan

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Flint Sloan Museum primary entrance | Rendering courtesy of Haizlip Studio
LANSING, Mich. – Projects that will support growth and economic opportunity in three communities around Michigan have received support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. In total, the projects are expected to generate a total investment of $30.6 million and create 16 jobs in Michigan.

“Today’s projects will drive further economic growth to Battle Creek, Flint, and Caro, adding vibrancy to their downtowns and creating a foundation for future economic growth,” said Jeff Mason CEO of MEDC, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF.

“We are pleased to work with our local partners on these projects, which will help make Michigan an even more attractive place to live, work, and play,” he said.

Battle Dog, LLC plans to redevelop a vacant historic building and adjacent surface parking lot into a restaurant with onsite brewing and distilling, as well as a seasonal outdoor beer garden, in downtown Battle Creek. The project is consistent with MEDC’s goal of attracting talent through innovative placemaking and transforming underutilized properties into vibrant areas. In addition, the project meets local objectives by bringing a well-known brewery – New Holland Brewing Co. – and restaurant enterprise into the city to act as a commercial anchor and to provide an additional amenity for the downtown residential units being added throughout the district. The project is expected to result in a total capital investment of $4,065,220, resulting in a $968,500 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant.

“New Holland Brewing Company is very excited to see this project come to fruition, after a lot of hard work from the great folks at MEDC, the City of Battle Creek and Battle Creek Unlimited, among others. The support and assistance that we have received throughout this process has been amazing. There is something special about downtown Battle Creek, and we couldn’t be happier to be part of it. There has been a tremendous amount of effort put into the revitalization of Battle Creek, and we are honored to help continue making great things happen for this area,” said Brett VanderKamp, president and founder of New Holland Brewing.

Local support for the project includes a twelve-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax abatement with an estimated value of $995,000, as well as a $265,000 Real Estate Connection grant and a $250,000 Development grant from Battle Creek Unlimited. The project is in a Michigan Geographically Disadvantaged Business Location, and the project qualities for a MCRP grant because the site is a historic resource. The city of Battle Creek is engaged with the MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.

“We are thrilled to see this project get underway. New Holland Brewing is a solid partner for Battle Creek. Their investment is a testament to the strategy deployed for the redevelopment of Downtown Battle Creek. This is a great complement to several other economic development projects underway or in the pipeline, none of which would be possible without the collaboration from many including the MEDC, BCU, and the City of Battle Creek,” said Joe Sobieralski, president and CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited.

Flint Cultural Center Corporation plans to renovate and expand the existing Sloan Museum in downtown Flint. The project is consistent with MEDC’s goal of developing unique places to attract talent. The project also meets local objectives by providing improved facilities that allow the entire community to utilize the Sloan Museum as a community hub and gathering place. The project will rehabilitate the existing 58,000 square feet and add 42,000 square feet of new construction to create a new building with a total of 100,000 square feet of exhibit, office, collections storage and community space. Currently, Sloan Museum attracts 175,000 visitors annually, while the new museum is estimated to draw up to 225,000 visitors annually, and it is anticipated that it will serve as a catalyst for more growth and economic activity in the community. Restoration of the Sloan Museum builds on the momentum of redevelopment in and around downtown Flint spearheaded by private development in partnership with foundations and agencies like MEDC.

In addition, the new exhibit spaces will give the community new opportunities to learn about science and history through exploration, discovery and action. The completed project will provide early childhood learning, act as a STEM and social studies resource and assist with workforce development. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $26.5 million and create an estimated 16 new jobs, resulting in a $1 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant.

Local support for the project includes a reduction of permit fees by the city of Flint, estimated to be $99,185. The city of Flint is also engaged with the MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.

The city of Caro has received $57,281 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds for the Caro Facades Project and an additional $17,000 for a CDBG Certified Grant Administrator to assist in the administration of the project. The project includes the historic rehabilitation of two storefronts in downtown Caro that will continue the economic growth occurring in the downtown. The project will also have a substantial impact along North State Street. The façade renovation projects are expected to be a catalyst for other projects and investment in downtown Caro.

The project is estimated to cost $118,626. The city of Caro contributed design services for each building, estimated at $25,000. The city of Caro is also requiring the business owners to contract with one contractor, along with requiring the match funds be escrowed to assure the projects are completed. The city of Caro is engaged with the MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

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