New initiative beefs up downtown living in Owosso

OWOSSO (WJRT) - (02/07/19) - 216 Main Street is not just home to one of the last remaining Radio Shacks but the late 1800s building will soon be home to a few new families. It's part of a greater effort to get more people living in historic downtown Owosso.

This renovation project has kicked into high gear. Owosso native Jim Woodworth bought this building - and is turning the 4,000 square feet upstairs into three housing units - each offering its own unique style with some original features, including ceilings and floors.

"One of the last remaining Radio Shacks is downstairs. It's been here for about 60 years and as far as I know up until the 40s. The second floor space has been pretty much vacant. It's been used for storage by the previous building owner," Woodworth said.

The Owosso Main Street board member has both a personal and professional stake in its success.

"My wife and I we want to move downtown. We came from Downtown Detroit so we came from the downtown setting just the walkability of getting to downtown restaurants, shops and there's so many unique businesses downtown," Woodworth said. "As a main street board member one of our goals as a transformation to downtown is to add a residential unit."

Owosso Main Street has identified 40 more buildings like this that could potentially be fresh, desirable apartments if property owners get on board.

"We want to use this as really the lesson that can be told to how do you do it, where do you start, what kind of money is available, if there's grants or the City of Owosso has some different funding options as well. So just really use this as an example for other property owners to navigate throught the process and encourage them to do the same thing," Woodworth said.

It's something to think about if you have space that is not being used.

"A lot of the space it's not that they're leasing it out and generating more income. It's just sitting there vacant," Woodworth said.

Woodworth and his wife will live here and lease the two other one-bed, one-bath units. He says people have already signed up to be potential tenants so he knows the demand is there.

"So there's a huge opportunity not only to add an income for them but also create a more dense downtown, more walk-able downtown and really support the businesses as well," Woodworth said.

Woodworth will start showing this property in March and hopes people are moved in by April. If you're an interested property owner who wants to learn more, email

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