FLINT, Michigan — Welcome to 2019 and more than $200 million in ongoing development projects in Flint. Yes, more than — and that’s just taking a look at eight major projects that are now under way.
The boom in development follows several year’s worth of other major, headline-grabbing projects. (See more on those below.) The majority of developments are headed for downtown Flint, but the list also includes construction of what essentially will be a new neighborhood on Flint’s northside as well as renovation of a historic, shuttered elementary school into an apartment complex.
Here’s a deeper look at the $200 million worth of development happening now in Flint, listed from the smallest to largest:
MCC Culinary Institute: $13 million
• First up is the Mott Community College Culinary Institute. The $13-million project is nearing completion at the corner of Saginaw and Second streets. The 36,000-square-foot former Woolworth Building will become home to MCC’s Culinary Arts school as well as Applewood Café, which offers a student-run upscale dining experience. The building, built in 1920, now features multiple kitchens, classroom and laboratory space, dining room, meeting space, and bakery.
Coolidge Park Apartments: $16.5 million
• Communities First Inc. broke ground in September on this project that will dramatically change the Ballenger Highway corridor leading to McLaren Hospital. The former Coolidge Elementary school is being transformed into Coolidge Park Apartments, which includes 54 apartments, 9,600 square feet of commercial space, and more than 9,000 square feet of community space. The development includes one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, 45 of which will rent with affordable rates and 9 will rent at market rate.
Related story: Coolidge School renovation project includes addition of 4-story Flint apartment complex
Clark Commons: $16.9 million
• Part of the $30 million Choice Communities grant, this development on Flint’s northside is creating a six-block neighborhood development with 11 buildings. Located off North Saginaw Street, the development will include 62 mixed income units. The buildings include a variety of building types including a three-story apartment building as well as townhomes and single-family attached homes.
The development is funded with $15 million in tax credits awarded by Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
Related story: New housing development coming to Flint—could be first of three
The Marketplace housing complex: $19.6 million
• Construction is unde rway at 310 E. Third St., the former home of the now demolished former YWCA building in downtown Flint. Located just a block from the Capitol Theatre and the Flint Farmers’ Market, The Marketplace development includes ground floor commercial space as well as 92 apartments. With a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, 48 of the units are designed as affordable downtown housing.
Cultural Center Academy: $35 million
• Located at the far northwest corner of the Flint Cultural Center Campus, a new charter school backed by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation with a focus on arts education is expected to open in the fall. The Flint Cultural Center Academy will be a free public school. It expects to open with 300 students in kindergarten through fifth grade with enrollment expanding annually to eventually house up to 650 K-8 students by 2022. Construction of the 78,000-square-foot, two-story school at the corner of Robert T. Longway Boulevard and Chavez Drive is already well under way. The school includes 37 classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria, and kitchen as well as multipurpose classrooms.
Related story: Analysis: What the new, $35 million charter school means for Flint
Flint River Restoration: $37 million
• This massive, multi-year restoration of the Flint River and development of Chevy Commons continues in 2019. Major work — including the removal of Hamilton Dam as well as a pedestrian walkway and installation of trails and native plants — already garnered major attention. This massive project allows the river to be used as a natural asset — including recreational uses such as kayaking — and repurposes the historic brownfield Chevy in the Hole site. Additional work in 2019 includes the final phase of the Chevy Commons park development from Stevenson Street to Kearsley Street.
Related story: This view of the Flint river will soon look $37 million better
Hilton Garden Inn: $37.9 million
• The 11-story former Genesee Bank building is being transformed into a hotel with 101 guestrooms, restaurant, banquet center, and rooftop deck overlooking a large greenspace. Two, long-vacant buildings at Kearsley and Beech streets were demolished to make way for the greenspace just west of the hotel. The development by Uptown Reinvestment Corporation received nearly $8 million in state support and $2.2 million in brownfield redevelopment tax breaks and incentives.
UM-Flint science building: $39 million
• The 65,000-square-foot building — which technically is an expansion of the already existing Murchie Science Building — is part of a wave of growth at UM-Flint in recent years. The project adds a third wing to the Murchie Science Building along Mill Street near Chavez Drive and the university’s Recreation Center. Each wing is connected and operates quasi-separately from each of the other sections. Plans for the new portion of the building include expansive laboratory space.
Related story: UM-Flint's new science building ranks as downtown Flint's largest-ever development
And, this is by no means it. There are lots of other big projects happening out there. There’s the $1.4 million renovation of the Perry Drugs building where Elga Credit Union and Buckham Gallery will have a home. There is also the bar arcade, The Eberson, under construction in the Capitol Theatre and expected to open early this year.
This is on top of several years worth of investment in Flint, including 2018’s opening of the Lear Manufacturing plant, grand reopening of the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, the Dryden Building, Educare Flint, Kettering University’s research center, and expansion at the Flint Institute of Arts. (Not to mention the major 2017 developments including the opening of the Capitol Theatre, Ferris Wheel, Flint Development Center, and Factory Two makerspace.)
Here’s a look back at some of those developments:
• Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village: A legacy, a beacon of hope, a new beginning
• See inside Kettering University's new proving grounds and research center
• A view from the inside of Flint's new Lear manufacturing plant
• This new Flint school could shape early childhood education nationwide