CALUMET AND IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WJMN) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced three projects on Monday to revitalize buildings in Calumet and Iron Mountain.

In Calumet, Fire Tower Property Group, LLC will redevelop a historic two-story building located at 104 Fifth Street in downtown Calumet. Following the redevelopment, the building will house Fire Tower Engineered Timber, a structural engineering firm that specializes in the design and engineering of timber structures including historic structures.

The location is a historic building in downtown Calumet that has been vacant and underutilized following a 2021 fire in downtown Calumet. The building is a contributing resource to a National Register of Historic Places district and is located in a local historic district. The project will repair masonry on the exterior of the building.

The project is expected to garner a capital investment of $644,826 and is supported by a $307,176 performance-based grant from the Michigan Community Revitalization Program (MCRP). The Village of Calumet is contributing a $10,000 grant to upgrade water service to the city.

“While our historic office building in downtown Calumet managed to survive a fire in 2021 that destroyed the rest of the city block, it suffered extensive smoke and water damage. After running the numbers, it was less expensive to build a new space outside of the downtown area, but the unanimous desire of our entire office staff was to remain downtown,” said Fire Tower Property Group Manager Joe Miller. “With the help of the MEDC’s Community Revitalization Program, a grant from the village, and support from a local bank, we were able to buy the fire-damaged building and begin historical sensitive renovations. Without the MEDC, another building contributing the Keweenaw National Historic Park would have needed razed, but with the MEDC’s help, we able to put a building back on the tax roll and keep professionals working in the downtown area.”

Also in Calumet, a two-story downtown building located at 201 Fifth Street will be rehabilitated by Vianis Realty, LLC into a mixed-use development. Once completed, the building is expected to house three residential units and two commercial spaces.

The location is a historic building in downtown Calumet that has been vacant and underutilized because of its poor condition, according to a release from Governor Whitmer. The building, known from its original use as Baer Brothers Meat Market, is also a contributing resource to a National Register of Historic Places district and is located in a local historic district.

“The rehabilitation of the Baer Bros. Meat Market building by Vianis Realty, LLC is a testament to its owner’s passion for bringing back Calumet’s original historic building fabric,” said Jeff Ratcliffe, Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance executive director. “It was also a testament to the teamwork of the village of Calumet, Calumet Downtown Development Authority, KEDA, and the MEDC community development team that made financing this project possible. The effectiveness of this partnership has inspired at least three other rehab projects to move forward in downtown Calumet in the past year.”

The project is being also supported locally, including a $5,000 Calumet DDA investment in improvements to the building. The village is also providing six parking spaces in a nearby public parking lot. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $1,212,181, supported by a $574,648 MCRP performance-based grant.

In downtown Iron Mountain, a vacant building on Stephenson Avenue will be renovated by Menominee Range Investments, LLC and Barossa, LLC. Following the project, the 4,200-square-foot space will house Oddfellows Drinkery, a startup restaurant and wine bar.

The project is expected to generate a total investment of $832,847 and create 16 new jobs, supported by a $334,798 MCRP performance-based grant. The city of Iron Mountain is also contributing a $5,000 performance-based facade grant in support of the project.

“We are excited to see this new project add to our existing restaurant culture in downtown Iron Mountain,” said Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance Executive Director, Lois Ellis. “We appreciate the significant investment that Menominee Range Investments and the MEDC are making, which is creating additional interest and business activity that benefits the whole area.”

You can read more about redevelopment projects in Michigan through the Redevelopment Ready Communities program website.