Community revitalization project to restore long-vacant building, bring new housing options to downtown Houghton

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Rendering courtesy of Sisu Ventures

LANSING, Mich. – A community revitalization project that will bring new housing and vitality to downtown Houghton has received support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

“The restoration of this long-vacant building will breathe new life into a historic fixture in the community, while building on the vibrancy and attractive amenities that already exist in downtown Houghton,” Gov. Whitmer said. “This project is a great example of how we are continuing to focus on supporting community efforts that fill housing needs for our residents and build a foundation for long-term economic opportunity in Michigan. Along with the Building Michigan Together Plan that I signed today, which includes some of the largest infrastructure investments in Michigan history in roads, water, parks, high-speed internet, and housing, we will continue getting things done on the kitchen-table issues and ensure families can pursue their potential.”

Sisu Ventures, LLC plans to renovate a vacant, two-story building located at 111 Shelden Avenue in the city of Houghton. When completed, the project will consist of two residential units on the second floor and retail space on the first floor, activating a long-vacant, underutilized historic building in the heart of downtown Houghton.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $943,005, supported by a $350,709 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant. In addition to bringing much-needed housing to downtown Houghton, the project is expected to spur additional revitalization efforts, promote walkability, and bring increased density to the area.

The city of Houghton will be investing in improvements both to the water line to the building and access improvements to the adjacent city parking deck, totaling an approximate value of $28,500. The city of Houghton is certified with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.

“The city of Houghton is looking forward to the reactivation of this building and the added vibrancy it will being to that block,” said City Manager Eric T. Waara. “Sisu’s investment along with MEDC’s financial support of the project will further the growth and continued success of downtown Houghton.”

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is committed to supporting long-term economic development opportunities in the Upper Peninsula. Since 2019, 174 projects across the U.P. have received more than $40 million in public support through placemaking grants, access to capital, business development investments and export support, resulting in a total of 367 jobs committed. In January 2022, for example, MEDC awarded a $50,000 matching grant to support a successful crowdfunding campaign for a new and fully accessible splashpad in an underused space in Sault Ste. Marie’s Project Playground. In October 2021, meanwhile, the cities of Houghton and Escanaba were awarded a total of $2.8 million in Community Development Block Grant Water-Related Infrastructure grant funds to make necessary water-related infrastructure improvements. This support builds on additional placemaking investments in the region including The Vault Hotel in Houghton, façade improvements in Escanaba, and the 231 West Washington project in Marquette, all of which contribute to the region being an attractive place for both businesses and talent to grow and thrive.

“Sisu Ventures is excited to bring this historic building to life again. The Community Revitalization Program and the partnership with the MEDC and the city of Houghton were instrumental in making this a reality,” said Sisu Ventures Co-Owner Brendan Jacques. “We look forward to bringing high quality residential housing and increased retail activity to an already vibrant block of Shelden Ave.”

As part of MEDC’s ongoing efforts to support pure opportunity throughout the region, MEDC CEO and President and Chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund Quentin Messer, Jr. is in the Upper Peninsula this week visiting with the five federally-recognized tribes located in the U.P. Throughout the week, MEDC is working to strengthen and maintain a close working relationship with each tribe, as well as to identify economic development projects and needs in the area.

“This week I’m seeing firsthand the incredible diversity of our state and the importance of coming together across two peninsulas to create a brighter future and shared destiny for every Michigander,” Messer said. “By establishing and maintaining strong relationships with all our partners around the state, especially in the Upper Peninsula, we demonstrate that, when we work together, Michigan becomes an even better place for each of our 10 million-plus friends and neighbors to live, work, visit, play, and create futures.”

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.