Menominee recovers buildings from blight

Menominee recovers buildings from blight

MENOMINEE — There is a blighted building on 1st Street in downtown Menominee.

Just next door there is a formerly blighted building, restored inside and out, featuring 44 low– to moderate–income apartments as well as commercial space. The restoration of Lloyd House I was made possible, mainly, through private sector funding.

It’s next door neighbor is Lloyd House II. The City of Menominee hopes to restore that building with the help of a grant.

“The State of Michigan has a blighted building program,” said Nancy Douglas, with the Menominee Business Development Corporation. “It’s used primarily historic downtowns or downtown development districts where communities, downtowns have eroded.”

Specifically the City of Menominee has requested $850,000, which, if granted, it would put toward a projected $2.3 million bill.

The state will review the city’s grant application and reach a decision by the end of March. In the meantime Menominee has conducted preliminary engineering and secured private sector investment in the form of the Ohio–based Woda Group.

“Once we know from the state we have the grant there’ll be a period of more intense engineering and design work,” Douglas said. “Construction will probably start April, May and it’ll take about a year, so I would think that Lloyd House II will open late summer of 2017.”

Restoring old buildings has a sort of ripple effect on the economy, especially when they get turned into apartments.

“When you bring 44 new people, families, into your downtown, yeah they tend to shop a little bit and visit some of the other entertainment establishments,” Douglas said. “I have seen renewed interest in the downtown, and I am working with other people who are either looking to upgrade their buildings or, in one case, a potential new investor in a building that is currently unoccupied.”

And considering how Lloyd House I looks today, it might be hard to fathom what it looked like before the restoration.

“If you had seen this building when the project started, I don’t think you could— I know I couldn’t conceptualize that it would ever look like this,” Douglas said.

With aid from the state and the federal government the City of Menominee hopes that even if lightning doesn’t strike the same point twice, maybe it can strike next door.