Site plans approved by Grayling City Planning Commission for upcoming downtown development
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
City of Grayling planners recently gave the green light for a mixed-use retail and residential development planned for downtown.
The Grayling City Planning Commission, at a meeting held on Tuesday, May 21, approved the site plans for the former Sawmill Billiards property. The development also includes the building where the Crawford County Avalanche was located and where Heirloom Antiques operated.
Tom and Judy Steffen, of Graying, did the groundwork for the project, but have since sold their interest to Michigan Community Capital, an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity, which aims to build workforce housing throughout the state.
“It is very much driven by what we see as a need for housing,” said Marilyn Crowley, the investment director Michigan Community Capital.
Erich Podjaske, the zoning and economic development director for the City of Grayling, said Michigan Community Capital has a solid background for building and maintaining housing developments in both urban and rural communities.
“They are in these projects for the long haul, and they don’t build and sell them,” he said.
Crowley said the agency focuses on keeping the apartments affordable and it does not count on large margins to bring in a profit.
“We’ll never recoup our investment, but that’s not the point of it,” Crowley said. “The point of it is to create housing.”
The five-story development will include a building with 39,370 square feet. Retail space on the ground floor will include 2,680 square feet. There will be 42 apartments on all five floors of the building, including two-bedroom, one-bedroom, and studio apartments.
Parking lots will be developed on south and east sides of Burton Court. There will also be parking spaces on site.
Fobs, electronic devices used in place of keys, will be used to open secured entrances to the building, to operate a lone elevator system, and to access the apartments.
Each apartment will include a washer and dryer, a dish washer, a garbage disposal, and stainless steel appliances.
“They’re very modern,” Crowley said.
Utility rooms, which contain heat pumps and hot water heaters, will be located outside of the apartments.
“It gives access to those without having to get into the unit and it keeps the residents from tinkering around with that equipment,” said Mike Corby, the lead architect for Integrated Architecture based in Grand Rapids.
Michigan Community Capital is seeking a $1.5 million Community Revitalization Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation certified Grayling as a Redevelopment Ready Community last fall.
“This project qualifies because it is downtown and you are Redevelopment Ready Community,” Crowley said.
Crowley said demolition of the existing buildings will not take place until this fall.
Michigan Community Capital is still working with lenders to obtain financing for the project after an appraisal to determine the future value of the property is completed.
“We’ve got a lot of steps to get through to get our financing in line,” Crowley said.