Two adaptive reuse projects that helped revitalize two Michigan communities win international economic development awards

On October 7, 2021, two Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)-supported projects focused on bringing new opportunities for economic revitalization and local quality of life were recognized by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) at this year’s IEDC 2021 annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Cadillac Lofts project in downtown Cadillac, Michigan was recognized with a gold award in the Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse category, and the BLOCK600 project in downtown Lansing won a gold award in the Public-Private Partnerships category.

We are proud to work with our partners in Cadillac, Lansing and throughout the state to support innovative placemaking efforts that lay the foundation for long-term economic resiliency in our communities,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “By focusing on traditional downtown districts and revitalizing public spaces, we are helping to establish vibrant, unique places where people want to live, work, visit, and play.”

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

The Cadillac Lofts project in downtown Cadillac, recipient of a gold award in the Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse category, included the renovation of an abandoned grocery store and two single-story buildings into commercial space and much-needed rental housing.

The city of Cadillac was awarded a $1.5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund for the first phase of the project, which has added residents to downtown Cadillac on a year-round basis, positively impacting existing retailers, restaurants, and other local businesses.

As a result of this project, the city currently has three new redevelopment projects that are being pursued given the renewed confidence and resurgence in Cadillac’s downtown real-estate market. Due to high-demand, phase two of this development will begin vertical construction on a second building in 2022 with site work beginning in summer 2021.

MCC is focused on addressing multiple bottom lines in every project we take on,” said Eric Hanna, president and CEO of Michigan Community Capital, developer of the project. “We are thrilled to partner with the MEDC to create projects like Cadillac Lofts, that will change the trajectory of the city of Cadillac well beyond this project and for years to come.

Image courtesy of BLOCK600.

The BLOCK600 development, winner of a gold award in the Public-Private Partnerships category, transformed a previously vacant, contaminated and desolate block into a vibrant, thriving block in downtown Lansing’s Stadium District.

Supported with a $1.5 million MCRP performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the completed project includes a hotel, grocery store, and housing, now providing residents, workers, and businesses with the amenities they expect to see in a great city.

The new Capital City Market stocks local products and has already become the first place of sale for several Lansing entrepreneurs’ food products, providing area residents and workers with fresh, local and affordable groceries.

Through MEDC’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program, the market is able to stock its shelves with products from Michigan entrepreneurs like High 5 Salts, a line of organic seasoning blends.

The 122-room Courtyard by Marriott Hotel is a vital resource for Lansing’s growing hospitality industry, meeting visitors’ needs for more overnight accommodations, meeting and event space, dining and entertainment.

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) also won a gold award for the BLOCK600 project.

LEAP is proud and honored to receive these prestigious awards from the IEDC on behalf of our membership and region,” said LEAP President and CEO Bob Trezise.

With all these amenities, BLOCK600 has increased traffic flow in the area, dramatically changing the nearby traffic pattern.

We are honored to be a part of the BLOCK600 development winning the IEDC Public-Private Partnership award. The partnership with the MEDC was vital in bringing Block 600 to fruition, and we are grateful for their commitment to our capital city and the growing Stadium District,” said Pat Gillespie, president of Gillespie Group, developer of the project. “Together, we were able to open the first grocery store of its kind, combined with the first full-service hotel in over three decades to downtown Lansing. We are thrilled to see the energy that this development has added not only to the district, but to the greater Lansing area.

In addition to winning in the Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse category, LEAP also received a gold award for its One and All Inclusive Entrepreneurship Initiative in the Economic Equity and Inclusion category.

Other local partners and organizations recognized with IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards include:

  • Lakeshore Advantage
    Silver, Annual Report – 2021 Annual Investor Briefing
  • Lenawee Now
    Silver, Special Event – Career Con
  • Saginaw Future Inc.
    Bronze, Annual Report – Saginaw Success! Annual Report
  • The Right Place, Inc. & Hello West Michigan
    Bronze, Innovative Programs and Initiatives – Back To Michigan Program virtual event series
  • Back To Michigan Host Organization Committee
    Silver, Regionalism & Cross-Border Collaboration – Back to Michigan virtual event series

Our partners work incredibly hard to drive economic growth around the state and are integral in our efforts to build a championship economy here in Michigan,” Messer said. “Congratulations to these partners on receiving this well-deserved recognition.

These new awards build on a growing list of accolades for Michigan in 2021, including:

  • Six top 10 spots on Business Facilities’ 17th annual Rankings Report for 2021, including a repeat performance with a #1 ranking in the Automotive Manufacturing Strength category.
  • Landing the #11 spot on CNBC’s Top States for Business annual ranking, marking a 13-spot improvement in the ranking from 2019.
  • Recognition as a top state in sustainable development practices by Site Selection magazine, affirming Michigan’s commitment to green energy practices and social responsibility while continuing to be a state where businesses can succeed and grow.
  • Area Development’s 2021 Golden Shovel Award for excellence in job creation and investment projects initiated in 2020 in the 8-12 million population category, with 2,619 new jobs created and $441.8 million in private investment.

Featured photo courtesy of Cadillac Lofts.

Learn more about MEDC’s community revitalization programs.

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