New project planned for downtown Midland - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

New project planned for downtown Midland

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(02/24/14) - The downtown Midland landscape could change in a big way.

What's known as the Main Street Development Project will officially find out about some state help Tuesday.

SSP Associates, which is working on the project, should find out if a tax capture and a performance-based loan will be granted by the Michigan Strategic Fund.

They want to build a five story, nearly 84,000 square-foot building at the corner of Main Street and Ashman Street. It would have retail, restaurant and living space. It would also have a brand new feature for downtown.

"An open air venue on the top for different events," said Selina Tisdale, the city of Midland's community affairs director.

To make room for the new building, others will have to be torn down in March.

Some of them have been empty for a few years. Although one tenant, the Northwood Gallery, moved down the street and hopes to move back when the new building is complete.

This latest project is just one of many. SSP is also building a new office at 409 Ashman Street. Three businesses will call it home.

Then down by the Dow Diamond, the East End development is nearing completion. Outside work is done. Now the inside work is picking up. It's expected to open in June.

Those are just the big projects. Several other smaller businesses have moved in or expanded. All the other construction going on downtown has inspired them.

"It's probably the biggest stuff that's been built in Midland in years, and it's all right here," said Scott Coyer, co-owner of Coyer Candle Company.

The family-owned business was booming, and its other location was too small and not the perfect layout for production and sales. "Yes, we just outgrew it," Coyer said.

Coyer is most excited the Main Street Development Project will have living space. "They always find out that people that move and live downtown really support the downtown, so we're real happy with that," Coyer said.

Cherry Berry, a frozen yogurt franchise, opened in September 2013. It's the only one in the state.

Already, Cherry Berry has expanded its menu because business is doing well. The store's manager hopes the surrounding construction will help them even more.

"Growing up in Midland myself, we used to come downtown all the time, but when the mall opened, we never came downtown, you know, just kind of like why go downtown when everything's there? So, but it's, it's coming back alive," manager Jan Hatfield said.

While recent years have been good, there were a few rough years. After construction of the Dow Diamond started in 2006, the Great Recession hit.

"We've seen a lot of change and a lot of new developments right before 2008. Everything just kind of came to a screeching halt, and now we're starting to see that development come in again and people are starting to regenerate their dollars into new development uses," Tisdale said.

Now many believe Midland is back on the right track, with the right mix of businesses.

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