State of Michigan Awards $10 Million for Heritage Tower Redevelopment
PRESS RELEASE November 28, 2018
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – At its November 27, 2018 meeting, the Michigan Strategic Fund Board approved $10 million in financing for the redevelopment of Battle Creek’s historic Heritage Tower. The building was formerly used as office space and will be converted to a mixed-use development, with residential, commercial and retail spaces. Heritage Tower, located at 25 W. Michigan Avenue in downtown Battle Creek, is the tallest building in the city and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
State funding for the project will come from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Michigan Community Revitalization Program (MCRP), which provides gap financing for properties that may be contaminated, blighted, functionally obsolete or historic resources. The financing will be in two parts: a loan for $1.7 million and an equity investment of approximately $8.3 million. In September 2018, the Battle Creek City Commission approved two tax abatements worth $7.9 million for the development, which has a total estimated cost of $34 million.
The project calls for the renovation of the 19-story Heritage Tower, which has approximately 115,000 square feet of space. The rehabilitated building will include 65,000 square feet of residential space, comprised of 85 market-rate apartments. In addition, there will be approximately 32,300 square feet of retail and office space on the first two floors. Mark Harmsen of Heritage Tower BC LLC serves as the lead developer and has been involved in the project since its inception in 2013.
Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited, remarked, “From the very beginning, the Heritage Tower project has been a collaborative effort with broad participation from local partners, including the MEDC; the City of Battle Creek; the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; the Battle Creek Community Foundation; Heritage Tower BC, LLC; Battle Creek Unlimited; the Direct Investment Fund Committee; the Small Business Development Fund; the Battle Creek Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Board; and new to the area, 1st Source Bank from South Bend. Heritage Tower is key to the revitalization of downtown Battle Creek and we are grateful for everyone’s support and persistence. This is an exciting time for the city and I am proud to call Battle Creek my home.”
Battle Creek City Manager Rebecca Fleury said, “To have the final piece of funding in place for Heritage Tower feels really good. This has truly been a community-driven project. I believe it is the first of many big wins for Battle Creek. Battle Creek is open for business!”
“The restoration of this iconic building in Battle Creek will have a transformational impact on the downtown and serve as a catalyst for additional economic growth in the area,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of the MEDC and Chair of the MSF. “We’re pleased to support the efforts of the many local partners and the community in making this project a reality.”
The Michigan Strategic Fund Board oversees Michigan’s economic development strategies. The board has statutory authority to direct state appropriations to support business development, community development, talent enhancement and state marketing activities, including the promotion of tourism, film industry, arts and cultural affairs.
Heritage Tower was built in 1931 in the Art Deco style. The building originally housed the Old Merchants National Bank and Trust. The original design for Heritage Tower only called for 18 stories, but an additional floor was added to best a rival building being built nearby at the same time. The finished building was 238 feet, 6 inches tall, and has been the tallest building in Battle Creek since it opened. The building has been vacant for more than a decade.
Construction on Heritage Tower is expected to last 12-15 months. The first apartments are expected to be ready in the spring of 2019.
ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED
Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation.
ABOUT MICHIGAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn , and Twitter.
Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO
Battle Creek Unlimited
Kathy Achtenberg, Public Information Officer
Michigan Economic Development Corporation