The empty lot at 23 and 25 N. Broad St., next to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, is in the beginning stages of redevelopment as the city searches for a developer to build on the spot.
This will be Hillsdale’s first project completed in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation since being certified as a “Redevelopment Ready Community” by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in August. The certification allows more opportunities to attract new businesses to the community.
One resource that comes with certification is the assistance of the Redevelopment Service Team, led by Redevelopment Services Manager Nate Scramlin.
“Once a community is certified, my team becomes engaged with the community and works with them to identify some priorities sites that they would like to attract investment on,” Scramlin said. “The Broad Street parcel was one of the priority properties that they had identified.”
Scramlin said he is working in conjunction with City Administrator Alan Beeker, who is also hard at work to get this project started.
As of now, Beeker said the lot has been cleared of the former, dilapidated building, but a new building will not be constructed anytime soon.
“We are probably a couple years out from seeing any actual construction,” Beeker said.
Scramlin said this project has the potential of transforming the look of downtown and presents an exciting opportunity for the community.
Scramlin said the City of Hillsdale understands this project will have a big impact on the residents and has asked them to respond with ideas for the site on a Facebook article posted on Oct. 2. Comments listing ideas for the property ranged from a YMCA to a homeless shelter.
Richard Murphy, project manager for the Michigan Municipal League, recognizes the importance of the citizen’s input.
“It helps to have the people who are on the ground in downtown give us the perceptive in addition to the high-level data points,” Murphy said.
The city listened to people’s opinions by hosting an open-house at the Hillsdale Community Library on Oct. 9.
“We had about 15 people attend the meeting,” Murphy said. “There was definitely interest in first-floor use that is activity-generating and brings foot-traffic downtown to help support the surrounding businesses or brings employment downtown.”
More information should be available to the public on the project in the coming months.
“There will be another meeting in a couple months where our team brings back a few different concepts for feedback in order to converge towards a final, preferred concept,” Murphy said.