City looks to 200 E. Broadway St. for next redevelopment project
As construction steams ahead on Parcel B, Mount Pleasant city officials are looking up the street to the starch-white buildings on the corner of Broadway and University.
The city released a request for qualifications (RFQ) on Sept. 17. Sort of like a want-ad, the city is seeking developers to reimagine 200 E. Broadway St. and 111 S. University Ave. Both locations are owned by Isabella Bank.
“(The buildings) have been another high priority when it comes to redevelopment in downtown. We’re really excited about this,” City Planner Jacob Kain said.
Kaine said the project serves a larger goal - giving new life to downtown Mount Pleasant.
The city received its certification for the Redevelopment Ready Communities program last year, which involved reviewing zoning and building ordinances to encourage redevelopment. Kain said one perk of certification is that the city used RRC’s redevelopment services team to research the property. Much of that research showed up in the RFQ.
Overall, the document represents the type of development the city and Isabella Bank want to see. It includes an overview of the community, the criteria for selecting a developer but most importantly, the preferred development scenario.
After redevelopment, 200 E. Broadway St. would be restored to its original Italianate façade with tall windows and red brick design according to the RFQ. The ground floor could have multiple shops and services under the same roof. The floors above could be used as residential or office spaces.
Next door, the city’s concept of 111 S. University Ave. includes outdoor seating, a rooftop patio and increased foot traffic in the Cat’s Meow Alley.
All of this is what the city and Isabella Bank have brainstormed, but Downtown Development Director Michelle Sponseller said the chosen developer is likely to have their own ideas.
“Whether that lower space is a restaurant or retail, whatever it might be, it’s bringing more vitality to downtown for everybody,” Sponseller said. “All boats rise with the tide, so when good things are happening in one area downtown, it’s good for everybody.”
The buildings have occupied downtown Mount Pleasant for over a century, according to the RFQ. 200 E. Broadway St. was built in 1880 to house the Upton Opera House and various banks before becoming mostly vacant. 111 S. University Ave., built between 1900 and 1910, was the base for Enterprise newspaper print shop until 1948.
Isabella Bank used the space for decades until portions of the business began moving to 401 N. Main Street in the 80s. Vice President and Director of Marketing Jennifer Brick said Isabella Bank was excited at the opportunity.
“At this time, Isabella Bank is unsure how they will be connected to the final project. They will continue conversations with the City and consider any potential opportunities,” Jennifer Brick, said.
The aluminum and glass façade, built in 1973, is covering the original building like a curtain. Kain said the design choice was trendy for the time period but has ultimately run its course.
“We’re finally recognizing the historical value of those original facades,” Kain said. “And that original facade is still there, it’s just hidden behind glass.”
The surrounding businesses are beginning to learn of the new project. Grant Perry of family-owned Pure Vitality Juice Bar & Spa expressed his support.
“Anytime you have a building that size that’s just sitting empty, it’s sort of a waste of space,” Perry said. “If you can put something there that adds value to people’s lives, give people a reason to come downtown then I’m all for it.”
The deadline for redevelopment proposals is Nov. 12. Kain said finalizing the projects depends on finding the right development partner. He predicts construction could begin by “mid to late 2021” but could “certainly take longer”
“We’re hopeful that this project ensures these buildings to be part of our downtown for another hundred years,” Kain said. “Six to twelve months of work to lay the foundation for that is not much in the grand scheme of things”