The DDA board has decided to hold off on demolishing the building at 111 S. Leroy, and review the issue in six months, said Chairman Craig Schmidt.
The building at 111 S. Leroy, former location of Hometown Computers and Tack 'Em Up, doesn't fit the DDA's vision. The vision for Cornerstone, on the southeast corner of Silver Lake Road and Leroy Street, is to have three mixed-use, zero set-back buildings on Leroy Street, said DDA Director Michael Burns. Parking will be behind the buildings, and plans are for Caroline Street to continue east on Leroy to Walnut Street.
Looking at the master plan, the type of building that's at 111 S. Leroy St. is obsolete, Schmidt said.
"You wouldn't do that type of building anymore," he said.
In addition, the DDA is working on the first phase of Cornerstone, and the board needed to decide whether to demolish 111 S. Leroy at the same time as the former Republic Bank, Burns said. A date for the demolition hasn't been set, but it might be cost efficient to demolish both buildings at once.
The Republic Bank site is the first phase of Cornerstone, with 111 S. Leroy St. being the second.
111 S. Leroy could qualify for state funding, if building remains
However, 111 S. Leroy St. could qualify for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Community Revitalization Program. It could help a future developer, he said. The state has $100 million for its new Community Revitalization Program, which provides assistance for economic development. The Community Revitalization Program replaces Michigan's film tax credits, Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) tax credits and Brownfield Tax Credits for historical, brownfield and obsolete projects.
Funding is up to 25 percent of eligible investment, not to exceed $10 million in loans or $1 million in grants.
This Community Revitalization Program funding fills financial gaps for economic development, and mixed use projects qualify. Since Republic Bank is an obsolete building and might receive state funding, 111 S. Leroy St. might also be eligible because it's contiguous to the Republic Bank site, Burns said.
But, if the building at 111 S. Leroy St. is demolished now and construction of a new building doesn't take place for a few years, it won't be eligible, he said. Then Fenton couldn't offer the program as an incentive to a developer.
Mayor Sue Osborn, a member of the DDA board, asked about the cost to demolish the building at 111 S. Leroy St.
Burns said it could be close to $20,000.
DDA board member Roberta Sweetman asked whether the Community Revitalization program will be there when it's needed for 111 S. Leroy St.
Burns said the state has approved program funding for the upcoming fiscal year and then it’s subject to the legislature's annual approval.
Jim Saule, of the DDA board, asked about the chances of 111 S. Leroy receiving funding, if the Republic Bank site receives it first.
Each application is evaluated on its own merits, Markland said.
When the site is developed, the building will cover up the parking in the front, Markland said.
The potential reward for keeping the building is significant, said DDA member John Strayer.
The board discussed other areas where parking is available, and decided to keep the building in place for now.