©2016 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Michigan Economic Development Corporation Helps the City of Kalamazoo Revitalize its Downtown East End District

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Jennifer Kopp

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) will assist the City of Kalamazoo with redevelopment of the Speareflex Block, a 3.02-acre site located in downtown Kalamazoo.

The redevelopment project consists of improvements to two parcels of land.One parcel has two existing buildings, located on the northwest corner of Kalamazoo Ave. and Pitcher St., which were formerly used as part of an auto parts manufacturing operation.The first building is a 50,000 square foot, four-story warehouse.The second is a 20,000 square foot single story office building.Both buildings will be converted to office and retail space marketable to high-end commercial and retail tenants.The second parcel of land will be used to provide parking for the project.The total private investment is more than $7 million.

“This project will be a key link in the redevelopment of the business corridor that runs between Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo River,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.“The project will contribute to the revitalization of downtown Kalamazoo’s East End District.”

As part of this project, the City will remove and replace the existing storm and sanitary drain systems and water supply lines.

“The $6.5 million renovation of the Speareflex Block in downtown Kalamazoo is a great example of urban redevelopment,” said Barbara Gordon, assistant city manager, City of Kalamazoo.“A four-story brick building originally constructed for the Kalamazoo Paper Box Company in 1910 and a 1939 single story Art Deco building that once served as the main office for the Shakespeare Rod and Reel Company will be carefully restored with an elevated courtyard in between to serve office and possible commercial tenants.Support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation is a critical part of the partnership that is bringing exciting revitalization to the heart of Kalamazoo.”

The City received approval today to capture up to $329,233 in state and local taxes to help fund this project.The project is expected to create an estimated 200 new full time jobs and 150 construction jobs.

Recent amendments to the Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act allow a brownfield authority to capture property taxes for an expanded set of activities, including infrastructure improvements, demolition of structures and site preparation.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.