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  #81  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2008, 5:47 AM
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There is no way anyone could let the Rowe project fail. It would be so instantly visible a failure it'd most certain scare off potential investors and residents. It's good to see that the city is all on the same page.

Uptown is Flint's quasi-city redevelopment agency, right?
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  #82  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2008, 3:52 PM
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Uptown is Flint's quasi-city redevelopment agency, right?
Yes, but I believe its more (entirely?) private than quasi-city.
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  #83  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2008, 6:24 PM
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Manhattan Place

http://www.mlive.com/flintjournal/in...opes_to_d.html

Quote:
James Crawley still hopes to develop old Flint drugstore warehouse into Manhattan Place Condominiums
by Ron Fonger | The Flint Journal
Tuesday December 30, 2008, 7:50 AM


FLINT, Michigan -- Fresh off downtown redevelopment deals at the former Durant and Berridge hotels, the Genesee County Land Bank could be closing in on a deal to take over another key downtown property.

James Crawley, who attempted to build luxury condominiums inside the one-time Herrlich's drugstore warehouse at Garland and First streets, said he's talking to the Land Bank about his stalled development and the possibility it could be finished by the county.

Although no deal is certain, Land Bank Chairman Daniel T. Kildee said the timing could be right for a deal on Manhattan Place Condominiums, which is sandwiched between the better-known Berridge and Durant, just north of the Flint River.

"They've helped everybody but me, and I started it all. I'm the guy with the arrows in his chest," Crawley said of his long, still unresolved feud with the city of Flint over the project.

"It's been a real nightmare for me, watching other projects going full steam ahead," he said.

Nothing has seemed to go easily at Manhattan Place, a 95-year-old building that Crawley has spent nearly 20 years trying to convert into housing.

The structure was built for Freeman Dairy Co., which occupied it until 1934. It was used as an auto storage warehouse in 1940 and was later used by the Herrlich's drugstore store chain.

Crawley estimates his renovation is about 70 percent complete but said he hasn't been able to complete it because of difficulty securing credit and his bitter dispute with City Hall.

The local builder finished 11 apartments and rented them for a few years before taking city-backed federal loans and trying to convert the building to 22 condominiums.

The city sued Crawley for failing to pay back loans of more than $2 million, a case that's hung up at the state Court of Appeals.

In court documents, Crawley has claimed the city contributed to delays in Manhattan Place, in part by failing to turn over loans in a timely way.

City Attorney Trachelle Young would not comment on the case Monday.

But Kildee said the sale of the former Durant Hotel and the redevelopment of Berridge Place loft apartments recently makes it a good time to take on Manhattan Place.

So far, however, Crawley and the authority haven't reached a deal on how much the builder should be paid for the property and his work to date.

"We're made a significant investment with the Durant and Berridge. We feel like that area (of Manhattan Place) needs to be filled," Kildee said. "Our preference always is for a private developer to come in and invest private capital.

"If there's a way the Land Bank can make that happen, that's great. If it turns out nobody but the Land Bank can do the project ... We're willing to step in."

The Land Bank Board of Directors recently met in a closed session to consider the purchase of real estate, but Kildee would not say whether Manhattan Place was the subject of those private talks.

Crawley, who lives in one of the units at Manhattan Place, said there's still a market for his building, which sits across the river from the former Hyatt Regency Hotel.

He said he would prefer to finish the project himself but believes the Land Bank also could do a good job bringing the condos to market.

"At least 22 people in Genesee County want to live that way -- even with the economy as bad as it is," he said.

Picture of the front of the building (Flint Journal file photo from 2004)




Pictures taken by me last fall of rear entrance and display unit from the What's Up Towntown tour










It definetly didn't feel like a warehouse-turned-condo project (I actually didn't know the front building was a warehouse until after), and there were some strange features. However, since it is so close to being complete, I do hope the Land Bank can step in and complete it.
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  #84  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2008, 6:27 AM
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Yes, but I believe its more (entirely?) private than quasi-city.
That's kind of what I was wondering. It sounds like the city has to approve the loan they are looking for, so I assumed that they are somehow only quasi-independent of city government. But, from other things I've heard it seems like they are a private company.

BTW, do you know exactly what kind of loans were offered to the Manhattan Place development? Was it matching loans?
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  #85  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2008, 1:05 PM
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BTW, do you know exactly what kind of loans were offered to the Manhattan Place development? Was it matching loans?
I have no idea. I was surprised to learn that the renovation was started 20 years ago, and that only adds to what I felt was a very strange situation. I think Mr. Crawley simply got in over his head.
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  #86  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2009, 5:01 AM
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Read a article that Flint will be demolishing about 500 homes, mainly in the downtown area.
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  #87  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2009, 9:21 PM
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Here's an article from September, about the growth in students attending Flint's institutions of higher learning.

Quote:
University of Michigan-Flint sees record enrollment this fall; Student numbers surpass 7,200
by Shena Abercrombie | The Flint Journal
Thursday September 11, 2008, 10:26 AM

Correction: This article and headline for this article should have indicated that fall enrollment at the University of Michigan-Flint was 7,260 students. An incorrect number was given. This post has been changed to include the correct number.

FLINT, Michigan -- Extra classes, longer building hours -- oh the growing pains that come along with record enrollment.

It's a problem the University of Michigan-Flint is happy to deal with this school year as campus leaders this week officially announced record setting enrollment numbers this week.

Overall enrollment increased 5.5 percent, according to tenth-day enrollment counts that show 7,260 students flocked to the downtown campus this year, up from 6,883 in the fall of 2007.

University officials also said they were on track to hit a goal of 8,000 students by 2010, which could bring at least the discussion of additional student housing.

"I think it's possible to reach that goal, and when you reach that figure you need to discuss capacity," said Chancellor Ruth Person.

The swell was mainly due to the largest freshman enrollment in the school's history: 909 freshmen, up from 626 in fall 2007 -- a 45.2 percent increase.

"The deans of the school are saying they have to add sections, and I don't want to shut any students out," said Provost Jack Kay during a Thursday news conference to roll out the numbers. "And with the residence hall comes extended hours and services in buildings such as the library. Although it does bring in additional revenue, we're also seeing a built-in expense."

Other notable increases include a 6 percent increase in transfer students, 9.9 percent increase in dually enrolled students, 4.3 percent increase in graduate students and a 24 percent increase in international students.

Person called the student growth on the downtown campus a historical milestone.

"We have nearly 400 new students attending the University of Michigan-Flint," she announced during the news conference. "It is wonderful news for both the campus and the community."

It's the second year in a row the university has witnessed an enrollment jump, following years of flat enrollment and some dips.

Flint Journal files show that before fall 2008, the largest freshman class was in 1998, with 731 first-time freshmen. Its all-time low was 500.

Campus officials listed several contributing factors for the enrollment shift, including new degree programs, international recruitment efforts, a nod from the Princeton Review naming UM-Flint "Best in the Midwest" -- and, of course, the 300 new downtown residents at First Street Residence Hall.

Still, they acknowledge the economy has also played a role in the larger crop of freshman applications, as well as the motivation behind more than 3,000 prospective students who gave the university a once-over with a campus visit during the 2007-08 academic year -- yet another record number.

"The economy could've propelled others to seek higher education," Person said. "With gasoline prices, I'm sure we'll see some students wanting to stay for economic reasons and the quality we provide."

Kay added that many of the new freshmen were traditional students -- meaning those whose only college experience, if any, has been through dual enrollment and who have been out of high school for five or fewer years.

UM-Flint isn't the only local higher education institution witnessing an upswing in enrollment.

Baker College of Flint officials expect to keep the momentum going with a projected fall enrollment of roughly 5,800, up from 5,674 in 2007.

MCC, while bracing for a decline, is witnessing steady numbers. So far this week, roughly 10,666 students have registered, compared to 10,521 at this same time last year.

And with a boom in applications, Kettering University is projecting 490 students, up from 435 last year and 459 in 2006.
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  #88  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2009, 4:21 AM
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Parking garage coming along quickly





Hope they're working on the inside (Blackstone's Pub):



Yeah! Progress continues on the Rowe Building.





Looks like Channel 5 moved in to the Wade Trim Building
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  #89  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2009, 5:07 AM
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Great photo updates. All of that construction looks promising for a city that I know has potential to do well.
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  #90  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2009, 5:52 AM
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Wait, I didn't know they were building a parking garage? Who's developing it and for what? I was surprised when I was in downtown Flint how few parking garages there were and how small they were.

It's also good to see a television station in the downtown area of a city. WNEM located downtown prior to moving to the Wade Trim? Oh, and how much are the condos/apartments on the upper floor of that building going for?

We're seeing a lot of great things happening in downtown Flint. I hope it keeps on going, even in this poor economy.
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  #91  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2009, 6:45 AM
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I hope that parking garage will end demand for any new additional parking along Saginaw St.
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  #92  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2009, 12:40 PM
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Wait, I didn't know they were building a parking garage? Who's developing it and for what? I was surprised when I was in downtown Flint how few parking garages there were and how small they were.

It's also good to see a television station in the downtown area of a city. WNEM located downtown prior to moving to the Wade Trim? Oh, and how much are the condos/apartments on the upper floor of that building going for?

We're seeing a lot of great things happening in downtown Flint. I hope it keeps on going, even in this poor economy.

The DDA is building the parking garage because of all of the extra workers downtown (Wade Trim, Community Foundation, soon to be Rowe).

I believe WNEM had a Flint bureau, but they were not downtown. The main location will still be in the Tri-Cities area. Can't find any info. about the cost of the Wade Trim lofts.
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  #93  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2009, 2:14 PM
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http://www.uptowndevelopments.com/im...ars_medium.wmv

Here's a cool video I found from Uptown Developments, showing the projects that are happening in, or are planned for, downtown Flint. It's a little outdated, so some of the projects are already completed.
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  #94  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2009, 10:07 PM
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Riverfront Character Inn to become residence hall



http://www.mlive.com/business/mid-mi..._become_u.html

Quote:
Riverfront Character Inn to become residence hall
by Sally York | The Flint Journal
Monday February 02, 2009, 10:00 AM

Brian Laskowski | The Flint Journal


FLINT, Michigan -- The vacant Riverfront Character Inn is going to be turned into a giant home for Flint's growing number of college students.

The nonprofit Uptown Reinvestment Corp. bought the 16-story former hotel Friday with plans to transform it into housing for local college students. A $20-million loan from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is funding the purchase and planned renovations.

Eventually, the building will become home to 550 students and be called Riverfront Residence Hall, said Tim Herman, president of Uptown. It also could include classrooms, a game room, Internet cafe and meeting space in what is being termed a student living and learning center. The exterior of the building also will be updated, as will the heating and air-conditioning systems.

Work will begin Wednesday to convert the third through eighth floors into student suites similar to those in First Street Residence Hall at the University of Michigan-Flint. Riverfront Residence Hall is expected to open for 250 students in the fall.

Herman said the move is a step toward transforming Flint into a college town, in the mold of Ann Arbor and East Lansing.

"From a factory town to a college town -- that's what we have been promoting," Herman said. "We're going to make downtown really cool and hip."

The development is just the latest in a string of building projects that are giving new life to downtown buildings, including turning the nearby Durant Hotel into apartments.

UM-Flint sits just across Saginaw Street from the former hotel. Its student housing has proven overwhelmingly popular with students in its first year.

"I think it's a good idea," said UM-Flint freshman Sara Chatfield, 18, who lives in First Street Residence Hall. "The dorm I live in filled up fast, and I think this would fill up, too."

Last fall, the Mott Foundation commissioned Scion Group, a student housing research and development company in Chicago, to assess local demand for student housing.

Its research showed a current demand for 474 more beds and projected a need for nearly 970 beds by the fall of 2013, said Ridgway White of the Mott Foundation.

Herman said the new hall could increase the downtown student population to 1,000 by 2010, counting 310 UM-Flint residence hall students and a projected 100 students in apartments at the old Durant Hotel.

That might be enough young people to noticeably change the atmosphere downtown.

"You have to create student life, and to create it, you have to have enough kids," White said.

A large group of students would command enough market power to dictate new downtown amenities, such as cafes, restaurants or a movie theater, Herman said.

"The demand will be there, and the supply will come," he said.

Uptown's stated mission is to target areas in downtown Flint to redevelop.

The Mott Foundation grant is to be repaid at the end of 10 years, with required interim payments based on cash flow. The foundation stepped up to purchase the former hotel in December but transferred its option on the building to Uptown.

The Crim Fitness Foundation signed a purchase agreement to buy the building in April but was not able to close the deal on the troubled property. The building opened in 1981 as a Hyatt Regency Hotel.

"(Uptown) is the perfect candidate for taking this hotel," White said. "This could become a world-class living/learning center."





What else can be said? Go Mott Foundation! Go Uptown! Any city would be lucky to have those two organizations.

I wonder what "the exterior of the building also will be updated" means? New facade or general upkeep that needs to be done on a 30-year-old building?
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  #95  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2009, 11:41 PM
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The current facade isn't really all that bad, and neither is the lobby. I suppose much of the updates will come with retrofitting and improving the rooms. This is an excellent use for the building.

I'm really happy to see all this student living downtown. Flint is creating good chemistry to become an actual functioning college town. Eventually it will hit a tipping point that encourages better retail and restaurants.
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  #96  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2009, 1:12 AM
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The current facade isn't really all that bad, and neither is the lobby. I suppose much of the updates will come with retrofitting and improving the rooms. This is an excellent use for the building.

I'm really happy to see all this student living downtown. Flint is creating good chemistry to become an actual functioning college town. Eventually it will hit a tipping point that encourages better retail and restaurants.

Speaking of the lobby, there is a rendering on the front page of The Flint Journal (couldn't find it online) of the lobby post-renovation, complete with a rock climbing wall. The caption read "It's too early to tell if the rock climbing wall will survive the planning stage." Gotta think outside of the box...lol.

Last edited by robk1982; Feb 3, 2009 at 1:32 AM.
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  #97  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2009, 6:41 AM
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Yeah, I always thought the hotel architecture was actually done rather well.

Just to get this straight, this is a privately-owned and operates residence hall/dormitory as opposed to student apartments, right? That's a rather unusual operation, but I'm happy to hear about it.
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  #98  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2009, 2:14 PM
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University of Michigan-Flint music program could make Capitol Theatre sing again

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/inde...nflint_mu.html

Quote:
University of Michigan-Flint music program could make Capitol Theatre sing again
by Beata Mostafavi | The Flint Journal
Tuesday February 03, 2009, 2:21 PM

FLINT, Michigan -- It's part of Flint's folklore: stories of the days when crowds packed the Capitol Theatre's 2,000 seats, rocking to the likes of Primus, Rage Against the Machine and Black Sabbath.

For years since, the once vibrant downtown fixture has been empty and silent. But now it might again hear music -- this time from University of Michigan-Flint students.

The university is exploring the possibility of using the historic theatre for its music program, with hopes of launching a multi-million dollar renovation that could again make the long-vacant auditorium an entertainment hub in the city.

The theatre hasn't seen a show since the mid-90s although its well-known neon marquee on Second Street recently played the part of an active venue. The sign's cameo appearance in Will Ferrell's 2008 flick "Semi-Pro" was locally famous.

"I still hear stories from people telling me that this was the place to go," said D.J. Trela, dean of UM-Flint's College of Arts and Science. "There's the potential for it being the place to go and be seen once again."

Renovation of the space, which UM-Flint officials would like to see used as a community asset, could cost as much as $40 million, Trela said. The C.S. Mott Foundation is paying for a $50,000 feasibility study of the project.

University administrators have had ongoing talks about playing a role in the theatre's revival since the tenure of former chancellor Juan Mestas, who retired in 2007.

There are 75 music majors in UM-Flint's school of music, but recruitment in the program would increase if the project became a reality, Trela said.

He said renovated space wouldn't just be for students -- who use mostly local churches to perform in everything from jazz groups to instrumental and wind symphonies.

Administrators envision such community groups as The Whiting or Flint Institute of Music also using the auditorium.

"I think a space like this really would give much greater visibility to events and I think it would be an attraction in itself because it's such a beautiful space," Trela said. "It would be an amazing sign of downtown revitalization."

Music school administrators have been searching for a way to improve resources after a nearly two-decade old report said the program lacked enough rehearsal, storage and performance space.

"A different area would encourage more people to come and see us," said UM-Flint junior Tracie Lemon, 21, who sings in the university's chorale and chamber groups. "Right now we get the same crowds every time. We could get a bigger audience."

UM-Flint music major Austin Anderson, 19, said music groups use mostly churches and UM-Flint's campus theater, which he said doesn't offer good acoustics and wasn't designed for music performances.

He said many students would welcome a downtown venue for nightlife.

"There would be more student life downtown," he said. "It would be another step toward creating that college community in Flint."

The three-story, 30,000-square-foot Capitol Theatre building houses several offices, including an architectural firm, law office and H&R Block.

General Manager Troy Farah, whose family has owned the building for 30 years, said people still talk about the theatre's heyday.

Between the 1980s and 1990s, shows were regularly sold out in the concert hall and club and people frequented a bar called "The Lobby," in the theatre's lobby.

It closed in the mid-90s because of renovations needed to compete with other venues.

Work on the theatre has been slow and steady, buoyed by a $25,000 makeover on its marquee that was paid for by the "Semi-Pro" production company.

Farah said a comeback could support other businesses that would benefit from an entertainment draw downtown. It would also further merge UM-Flint's students and the city around them.

"I've always felt the university would be the best eventual long-term caretaker of the building," Farah said. "It's obviously a treasured historic asset and revitalization of a historic asset sort of weaves pride back in to the community."

My sister was a music major at UM-Flint, and this article accurately describes the poor facilities of the music department. The current theatre is small, and there isn't a place on campus for large events like commencement.

The major sticking point with renovating the Capitol is going to be the cost. $40 million is A LOT, but if the other "major players" (Uptown, Mott Foundation) can get in on this, then it might just happen this time.
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  #99  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2009, 4:33 PM
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New restaurants

(once again)

http://www.mlive.com/business/mid-mi...e_two_new.html

Quote:
Downtown Flint to see two new restaurants open soon
by Melissa Burden | The Flint Journal
Wednesday February 04, 2009, 9:22 AM


FLINT, Michigan -- Get ready to eat, downtown Flint.

Two new restaurants with 75 employees, managed and operated by longtime Genesee County restaurateur George Falaras, are coming to the Community Foundation Building on South Saginaw Street.

WizeGuys Pizza Inc. and 501 Bar & Grill could be open within 90 days, said Falaras, 55, of Grand Blanc Township.

That means downtown Flint is getting at least four new restaurants this spring. Full-service restaurant and bar Blackstone's Pub & Grill, 531 S. Saginaw St., should open by April, and Soyla's, a Mexican restaurant, is near opening in the new Wade Trim Building, 555 S. Saginaw St.


But why add downtown restaurants now, when the economy is so bad?

Supporters point to downtown revitalization efforts and the demand created by the growing number of downtown residents -- from the opening last fall of the University of Michigan-Flint's first residence hall with more than 300 students, plus additional student housing coming through the renovation of the Riverfront Character Inn, the former Berridge Hotel and the former Durant Hotel.

"By fall, we'll have another 120 employees downtown," said Phil Shaltz, a managing partner in Uptown Developments, a real estate development and management company working on downtown revitalization projects.

"There will be another 93 apartments in the Durant Hotel, probably 200 to 250 students" in the Character Inn, he said.

And don't forget downtown's estimated 5,000 workers.

The new variety in dining options, coupled with existing sandwich and coffee shops, is good news to downtown restaurant patrons such as John Ciesielski, an engineer at Wade Trim.

"Three of the five days, I head out for lunch," said Ciesielski, 30, of Argentine Township. "I really try to spread it around when I do. I've got my favorites, of course."

WizeGuys and the adjoining 501 Bar & Grill will take up nearly 5,000 square feet on the ground floor of the Community Foundation Building.

Falaras -- founder and majority owner of Blue Collar Gourmet restaurants Redwood Lodge in Mundy Township, Bubba O'Malley's in Burton and Blue Collar Grill in Flint Township -- said he sees downtown's new bar and grill as a lunch and happy-hour spot for business people and professionals.

On the menu are small dishes, called tapas, along with gourmet and specialty sandwiches, soups and pizzas. The full-service bar and grill also will have a private room for meetings and banquets to seat 25 people, Falaras said.

At WizeGuys, look for pizza by the slice and by the pie, customized chopped salads with 35 ingredients to choose from, oven-baked grinders, soups, baked potatoes and beer and wine.

Both restaurants will be nonsmoking and together will seat about 135 people. They each will have wireless Internet access and large, flat-screen televisions. And they'll be open for lunch, dinner and beyond.

Ciesielski said he's looking forward to having someplace new to go after work.

"Come Friday night, or even Thursday night, I'd like to be able to stay down in Flint and go out to eat or have a couple drinks," he said.

The restaurants are the investment of about $750,000 by 501 SSS LLC, comprising area residents Ghassan Saab, Gary Hurand, Phil Shaltz, John Matonich, Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, LaVal Perry and one anonymous investor.

The group is leasing space from the Community First Partnership, which includes the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Uptown Six and Uptown Reinvestment Corp.

Falaras said he will offer delivery and that people will be able to place orders online.

In 2007, Blue Collar Gourmet dropped its plans for a brew pub and restaurant on the main floor of the Rowe Professional Services Co. building to focus on other ventures.

But Falaras said he hasn't ruled out opening a restaurant in the new Rowe Building, which is expected to be completed this fall just a few doors from the new restaurants.

Don't be surprised to see a fifth restaurant in the future. Shaltz said another one may be headed downtown.

The Community Foundation Building opened in June and with the two new restaurants will be at full capacity, including two loft apartments, office space and commercial space.

"This investment in downtown Flint sends a loud signal that there is real progress on creating a vital new future for our community," said Kathi Horton, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, in a news release.
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2009, 2:59 AM
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http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/inde...rmer_supe.html

Quote:
Baker College buys former Superior Cadillac dealership for new center for Transportation Technology
by Beata Mostafavi | The Flint Journal
Friday February 06, 2009, 10:02 AM

FLINT, Michigan -- The site of a former auto dealership is about to get a $5-million makeover as Baker College transforms an 11-acre piece of Flint property into an expansive new training center for transportation jobs.

Baker College of Flint has purchased the former Superior Pontiac, Olds and Cadillac dealership at I-69 and Dort Highway to house a new Center for Transportation Technology, the college announced today.

Flint Township-based Baker is initially pouring $3.8 million into the project to turn the space into a training ground for jobs in trucking automotive service industries. It anticipates spending $1 million more.

"We know we have an untapped or unmet need," president Julianne Princinsky said of the programs expected to be offered in the new facility. "In a time when people are laying off, downsizing and cutting back, people are going back to school. We have programs to train and retrain students to still be able to be employed."

The college bought the land and four existing buildings totaling 62,055 square feet from Al Serra Chevrolet. Officials plan to renovate existing space for classrooms and labs and build another building for the brand new Baker College division that will be open by fall. The new facility will also be the new headquarters for the trucking program, which currently has locations in Owosso and Saginaw.

"I think it's great news, especially for the east side of Flint," said Tim Herman, chief executive officer of the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce. "Educational opportunities really are key ingredients of revitalization of older industrial cities like Flint.

"It's really great to have a new program like this offered right here in the city of Flint and Genesee County."

Jobs in the trucking industry and areas of automotive services in Michigan have seen declines in recent years but are expected to go back up, according state data. Princinsky said she expects enrollment to double in Baker's truck driving program that sees about 150 students a year. Automotive service programs that have about 130 students a year could possibly triple, she said.

Cathleen Baase, 45, who is in Baker's truck driving program, said some jobs seem to be recession proof.

"I think that what keeps the world turning is truck drivers," said Baase of Saginaw, who enrolled in the program to make extra income and join her husband in his truck driving job.

"Without them, you can't get clothing and food to the stores -- there isn't going to be product to build a house with. Everything is moved with a truck. You can't do without it. You're always going to need truck drivers."

In the past year, jobs in the truck driving industry as a whole have declined by 2.6 percent or 2,600 in Michigan, according to the state's Department of Labor and Economic Growth's Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

But between 2006 and 2016, there is an expected to be an 11.5 percent increase in heavy duty truck drivers and 8.8 percent increase in light or delivery services.

Auto repair saw a 6.5 percent drop in jobs but expects an 11.1 percent increase in mechanics and technicians from 2006 to 2016. Auto body repair is anticipated to see a 6.8 percent growth.

Those figures compare to a 6.7 percent average job growth rate. The national growth rate for those jobs is greater.

"Jobs have fallen in those industries over the last year, but the outlook is a little better over the long term," said Bruce Weaver, economic analyst with the state's bureau. "Over the long term, several of them do have higher than average growth."

College officials said the Serra property was a perfect fit because it already comes with much of the equipment the programs will need, including automotive bays, a driving range and hoisting gear. The new Baker site, expected to break ground in spring, will offer the truck driving certificate, transportation management associate degree and automotive technology programs the college currently provides.

Over the next year, the site likely will offer new programs including heavy equipment operator, auto body repair, small engine repair, marine engine technology, small business incubators and other programs that address changes in the transportation industry.

"In those particular programs, there will always be a growing need," said Phil Whitmer, dean of Baker's transportation technology division who will oversee the new site.

The programs are expected to compete with other available training offered in the area, including Mott Community College's automotive body program and at least two truck driving schools in Genesee County.

Good news for the east side of Flint.
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