High-profile spaces on city’s main street to attract small businesses, add diversity to commercial district

Latest development another crucial step toward economic revitalization

LANSING, Mich. – From urban centers to small cities to some of the state’s most charming villages, there’s one compelling feature of all successful downtowns – a distinctive range of small businesses with uniquely local appeal. With the development of a high-profile space in downtown Flint, Uptown Reinvestment Corp. is adding that essential ingredient to the ongoing development of the city’s main street.

“This is continued evidence that the city of Flint is rebounding and this investment assists our small businesses and entrepreneurs with access to space in the growing downtown retail environment,” said Flint Mayor Dr. Karen W. Weaver.

Michigan Strategic Fund board approved a $200,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Performance-based grant to support URC’s $1.4-million development that restores what has been an obsolete building into six high-profile spaces for small retail business in downtown Flint. The project is expected to create 15 full-time equivalent jobs. The city of Flint is supporting the project with a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax abatement valued at $50,000.

The latest downtown development endeavor is a complementary piece in a larger economic-development picture and continues the private-investment momentum into Flint. Likely tenants in the new space will have a smaller footprint, and add a distinctive entrepreneurial quality to a site nearby Mott Community College’s culinary school.

The latest development in the ongoing economic reformation of Flint comes after last month’s MSF support for the redevelopment of the former YWCA site in downtown Flint. The project will transform the site into a walkable, urban mixed-used development with 92 market-rate and affordable housing units, and four new retail spaces.

In June, the MSF supported the $16.5-million plan to renovate the old Coolidge Elementary School on Flint’s west side into apartments and business space with a $1 million performance grant. Plans call for converting the former school into 54 mixed-income apartments and first-floor commercial space.

“These successful developments throughout Flint are built on collaboration and give many reasons to feel like the team approach to economic development will pay more dividends in the years ahead,” said Jeff Mason, CEO, Michigan Economic Development, which administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of MSF, which funds the development grants.

“Collaboration, open dialogue and productive relationships with all stakeholders have proven to be a winning formula and has created positive momentum and is attracting businesses, private investors and visitors,” he said.

URC renovated the Capitol Theatre, which opened in the fall of 2017 and is the developer of the Mott Community College Culinary Institute in downtown. The Flint-based developer is also transforming the long-vacant Genesee County State Savings Bank building into a 100-room hotel and full-service restaurant.