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DetroitMan Sep 14, 2013 12:10 PM

Michigan Tri-Cities / Great Lakes Bay Region development
It seems that Bay City,MI is experiencing a real renaissance in its downtown developments. Here are just a couple of examples

Mill End Lofts -24 Units

LaPorte Building Condos/Knepp Building Apartments
Developer Tom Laporte is developing three 1,300 square-foot, two bedroom, two bathroom condos to the third floor of the LaPorte Building at Fifth and Washington. LaPorte said if he can secure a government loan to the tune of $4 million, he will renovate the adjacent Knepp Building on Washington Avenue, creating 21 apartment units on three floors. The one and two-bedroom apartments will rent for about $1,500 per month.

Uptown at Rivers' Edge
This 43-acre redevelopment of an old industrial site on the Bay City waterfront is currently underway. The first phase will cost $50 million and consist of the following:
Dow Corning is currently constructing a 100,000 sq foot building which will open in 2014. When completed an estimated 400-500 people, mainly administrative positions, will work there. Chemical Bank is constructing a 15,000 sq foot building and McLaren Bay Region Health is planning a 10 acre site in the development.

Rizzo Sep 15, 2013 5:48 PM

The Mill End lofts is a pleasant surprise. I wasn't too happy about seeing this building demoed. I heard it was in rough shape, but this is certainly a nice replacement.

Rizzo Oct 1, 2013 2:56 AM

Some recent news on Uptown River's Edge

deja vu Apr 21, 2018 5:27 PM

I'd be interested in helping dust this thread off, or maybe just starting a fresh one, devoted to the entire Michigan / MBS bay region. It would primarily focus on the substantial Bay City, Saginaw, and Midland developments. Since this thread has been dead since 2013 (and after just 3 posts) are there any opposed to me just starting a clean, new one that can encompass more development?


Expansive construction in store for Midland
Kate Carlson | Midland Daily News
January 26, 2018

A lot of new construction and renovation projects are in the works this year in the city of Midland. Historically, funding for most construction projects are heavily funded by foundations in the community. Recent redevelopment efforts from the city, Momentum Midland and other local groups have focused on Midland's downtown...

Cities by the bay: Saginaw, Bay City back from the brink as downtowns rebound
Crain's Michigan Business: Saginaw/Bay City
April 8, 2018

Saginaw and Bay City have something in common with Mark Twain: Rumors of their death have turned out to be exaggerated. Like many mid-sized cities around the state 10 or 15 years ago, they seemed well on their way to becoming ghost towns. Downtown storefronts sat vacant. Movie theaters were shuttered. Parking lots were empty. Sidewalks went without walkers...
That was then...and now, there are cranes in these downtowns, tens of millions of dollars in investments, and actual demand for housing and commercial space. Exciting times in Michigan's beautiful Bay Region.

:deadthread: (but it need not be!)

Rizzo Apr 24, 2018 8:03 PM

Your choice. Same with the AA thread which has been open for 10 years. Detroitman and I had chatted about old threads this last weekend. Personally I still like following these threads but don’t have the interest in maintaining them now that I’m out of state. Plus the spirit toward any of our input is somewhat negative and I guess left for local members to discuss.

deja vu Apr 25, 2018 12:09 AM


Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 8166312)
Your choice. Same with the AA thread which has been open for 10 years. Detroitman and I had chatted about old threads this last weekend. Personally I still like following these threads but don’t have the interest in maintaining them now that I’m out of state. Plus the spirit toward any of our input is somewhat negative and I guess left for local members to discuss.

That's too bad about the negative reactions from others...just because someone is no longer 'local' should not automatically disqualify them from contributing. For example, you 'hands-down' know more about A2 than me, even though I grew up just a little over an hour from there. Likewise, I lived in PA for nearly 8 years before moving back to Michigan, but I still like following what's going on over there, and contributing from time to time. People need to get over their pride, or ignorance, or whatever.

I'll try and get this thread moving again - I usually have a little more time on weekends - and we can see where it goes.

And thanks to whoever updated the thread title (LMich?).

deja vu Apr 28, 2018 3:52 PM

First, to get this kick-started, a little background on the region, which I will continue to develop:

Saginaw, Michigan Skyline -
Source: Pinterest (edited)

Midland, Michigan downtown aerial -
Source: Twitter (edited)

Bay City, downtown aerial -
Source: Youtube (screenhsot)

The Saginaw-Midland-Bay City Combined Statistical Area is an area surrounding the Saginaw Bay and Saginaw River. It currently comprises an estimated 380,000 persons (2017 estimate). Within this CSA are the three MSA's for each of the three principal cities, which are often referred to as the Tri-Cities:
  • Saginaw MSA (all of Saginaw County) Population Estimate: 191,934 (July 1, 2017, US Census Bureau)
  • Bay City (all of Bay County) Population Estimate: 104,747 (July 1, 2017, US Census Bureau)
  • Midland MSA (all of Midland County) Population Estimate: 83,411 (July 1, 2017, US Census Bureau)

At a city level, the combined population of the three anchor cities peaked in 1960 (around 180,000 - equivalent to the size of Grand Rapids MI at the same time period). The populations of Saginaw and Bay City have both been dropping since then. Today, Saginaw has about half the population that it did compared to its peak of about 100,000 in the 1960's. Midland, on the other hand, has generally continued a trend of slow growth / stability. Here is a chart of the city populations that I put together. The top line is the sum of all three -

Historically, these MSA's have shared a variety of regional resources and been anchored by heavy manufacturing. This trend is still apparent today. MBS International Airport is utilized by the entire CSA, and manufacturing still plays a major role in the local economies. The following major businesses currently operate in the area:
  • The Dow Chemical Company (recently merged to become DowDupont) - Dow world headquarters is in Midland
  • General Motors - owns production facilities in Flint, Bay City, and Saginaw
  • S.C. Johnson and Son - owns a manufacturing facility in Bay City (where Ziploc products are made).
  • Nexteer Corporation - owns Saginaw Steering Systems in Saginaw
  • The Michigan Sugar Company - headquartered in Bay City
Source: Wikipedia

Midland-based Dow Chemical Manufacturing Facilities dominates the landscape -
Source: 2016, Jeff Schrier | MLive

Tourism is also a big draw in the region, with boating and water-based recreational activities being a major draw. The annual Tall Ships celebration in Bay city is a very popular one.

Erie, PA's Flagship Niagara (a replica of the 1812 ship) -
Source: April 2013 Photo |

The region is home to a lot of unique architecture, most notably, a lot of mid-century modern designs. The area is a mecca for architectural enthusiasts, considered on-par with Columbus, Indiana for the shear volume of high-quality modern structures. In large part, this heritage is due to the presence of Dow Chemical in Midland and the work of one local Architect, Alden B. Dow, who was the son of the company founder, Herbert Henry Dow. Alden apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright before opening his own firm in Midland, where he worked on projects that transformed the local landscape from the 1930s through 1970s. Without doubt, the most famous of these is his own home and studio, which can be toured today -
Source: Alden B. Dow Home & Studio Website

Another popular site in Midland is a three-way pedestrian bridge, known as "The Tridge". Recently, programmable LED lights were installed.
Source: Reddit

deja vu Apr 28, 2018 8:06 PM

As a catch-up, an update is in order for the several projects that were initially shared on this thread in 2013 by DetroitMan.

1. The Mill End Lofts development (808 N. Water St.) was completed in 2014. Three Rivers Corp. (out of Midland) was the Architectural design lead and construction manager.
Source: Three Rivers Corporation

2. Conversely, the historic LaPorte and Knepp Building apartment redevelopment never happened. In 2017, owner Tom LaPorte put the buildings up for sale for $2 million indicating his intent to retire from the real estate business and sell these property assets.


Historic downtown Bay City buildings listed for $2 million
Andrew Dodson | MLive
July 18, 2017

BAY CITY, MI -- Two of Bay City's historic downtown buildings are on the market and are listed together with a seven-figure price tag. Tom LaPorte, owner of the 127-year-old LaPorte Building and adjoining Knepp Building, has listed his properties for $2 million. The 75-year-old said he's ready to fully retire and get rid of the properties...
Source: Jacob Hamilton | MLive

3. Meanwhile, the massive Uptown at Rivers' Edge development, now simply known as Uptown Bay City, has been very successful, and is still growing. A whole micro-economy has formed in this live / work / lifestyle center located south of the historic downtown. The 35-acre former brownfield site (once home to Industrial Brownhoist) now has new life. Currently, there is a four story mixed-use building with ground floor retail / restaurants and condominiums above (you can click here for the virtual tour of two of the units). Additionally, there is also a four story-story Courtyard Marriott, a four-story office building housing Michigan Sugar Company's Corporate Headquarters and business incubators that are partnered with Central Michigan University's Research Corp. Dow Chemical has a standalone structure, as does another restaurant, Real Seafood Co. right next door. McClaren has a building here, and there are also brownstone-style townhomes.

Aerial View - circa 2017 -
Source: MLive

Construction Progress, circa 2015 -
Source: Uptown Bay City

Development Map -
Source: Uptown Bay City

deja vu Apr 29, 2018 12:09 PM

Bay City - Crapo Building Restoration / 'The Legacy'
Now on to a more current project in Bay City.

The historic Crapo Building is receiving a major facade restoration and a conversion into a mixed-use building. The five-story structure is smack in the middle of downtown at the 213 Center Ave.. It was constructed in 1890 with Richardsonian-inspired detailing. Sadly, in 1960, as was often the case at the time, the owners decided they wanted to 'freshen up' the facade, and they covered up the entire thing with aluminum panels. The building quickly become known as 'the cheese grater.' Fortunately, much of the original facade was left intact beneath the 1960's skin, and in 2017, that cloak finally came back off.

Developer Jenifer Acosta has re-dubbed the building 'The Legacy' as a nod to its prominence in the downtown scene. She is maintaining a relatively-frequently-updated facebook page with construction updates. The $12 million redevelopment to effort restore the facade and convert the interior into ground floor retail space with 26 apartments on floors 2 through 5 is expected to be completed Fall 2018. There will be at least one restaurant in the refreshed building. Quinn Evans was the Architect, and Detroit-based Grunwell-Cashero is doing the masonry restoration work. Some photos below -

An historic photo of the Crapo Building (c. early 1900's) -
Source: Jenifer Acosta Development | Courtesy local archives

The 1960's facade (photo is from 2014) -
Source: MLive File Photo

Removal of the exterior facade in July, 2017 -
Source: MLive | Tori Schneider

With the 1960's facade removed (July 2017) -
Source: MLive | Jacob Hamilton

An historic stair detail inside the building, taken July, 2017 -
Source: MLive | Tori Schneider

The interior first floor, where Chemical Bank was the most recent tenant, in July, 2017 -
Source: MLive | Tori Schneider

Construction progress photo - April 10, 2018 - a crane lifts new HVAC equipment onto the roof -
Source: MLive | Jacob Hamilton

Interior Rendering - Living Room -
Source: Jenifer Acosta Development

Interior Rendering - Kitchen -
Source: Jenifer Acosta Development

An exterior rendering of the finished project -
Source: Jenifer Acosta Development

Finally, here is a brief time lapse of those aluminum panels coming down. It's like unwrapping a present that has been sitting under the tree for nearly 60 years. How cool!

Video Link

Fvn May 1, 2018 2:27 AM


125-year-old Victorian demolished on one of state's most historic row of homes

A 125-year-old Victorian has been razed on one of Michigan's most historic row of homes.

The demolition of 1818 Center Avenue in Bay City on Monday, April 30, brought a three-year battle between dentist Don Sabourin and the city's Historic District Commission officially to an end.

deja vu May 2, 2018 2:45 AM


Originally Posted by Fvn (Post 8172703)

125-year-old Victorian demolished on one of state's most historic row of homes

A complicated situation, and it seems like it could have been averted in several ways. Alas, hindsight...

deja vu May 3, 2018 3:20 AM

Jumping to Midland (or thereabouts)...


$121 million Dow investment bringing 180 construction jobs; 200 lab jobs
Isis Simpson-Mersha | MLive
April 24, 2018

MIDLAND, MI -- The Dow Chemical Co. has hired two Saginaw companies for $121 million worth of construction work of new and existing buildings in Bay County. Spence Brothers was named the construction manager for Dow's new $100 million Innovation Center and for renovations to an existing building, Dow officials said Monday, April 23. Spence Brothers is collaborating with Shaheen Development to deliver a "world class" Innovation Center in Bay County's Williams Township that will employ about 200 research and development employees focused on silicone science and organic chemistry...
By the way, this is just one of many large investments by Dow in recent time. The company also has plans to renovate an existing building at their Auburn site and build a 28,000 SF addition for a Product Safety Laboratory for $21 million. Last year also saw the renovation of the Stoesser Center (employee development center) and the opening of a new 6-story, 184,000 SF Global Corporate Center -


Dow celebrates grand opening of new corporate center in Midland
Heather Jordan | MLive
July 31, 2017
The new Dow Global Corporate Center at its headquarters in Midland -
Source: Jake May | MLive

deja vu May 5, 2018 1:20 AM

The Court Street Theatre in downtown Saginaw has been undergoing renovation efforts for the past few years. I don't know much about this classic one-screen movie house, but I like the vintage feel that the new owner has tried to recapture. Many more photos at the article below -


Take a sneak peek inside Saginaw's renovated Court Street Theatre
Jacob Hamilton | MLive
May 3, 2018

Owner Tom Braley has made a number of interior and exterior renovations to the Court Street Theatre, 1216 Court St. in Saginaw, since he purchased the building two years ago. The theater will premiere "Getting Grace," a film written and produced by Saginaw natives, as its first feature since previous owners closed down in 2015...
Source: Jacob Hamilton | MLive

deja vu May 25, 2018 11:01 PM

There was a structural collapse yesterday in a building that was part of the former Dow headquarters complex. The building was in the process of being demolished, and there were no injuries.


Dow Chemical building set for demolition collapses
May 24, 2018

Midland – Officials say a former Dow Chemical headquarters complex building in Michigan that was being demolished has unexpectedly collapsed. No injuries were reported in the Thursday morning collapse of the six-story building at Dow’s campus in Midland...

deja vu May 25, 2018 11:11 PM

This is a pretty neat / unique project underway in Whiting Forest (Dow Gardens) in Midland. It is set to open later this year. Lots of cool photos at the article site below -


Nation's longest canopy walk opens this fall in Michigan
Jessica Haynes | MLive
May 25, 2018

MIDLAND, MI -- Stroll four stories up in the air among towering and sun-dappled conifer trees this fall when a one-of-a-kind Canopy Walk -- the largest ever constructed in the country -- opens to the public in Midland's Whiting Forest. Kyle Bagnall, program manager at Whiting Forest, said the $20 million Canopy Walk project should be open this October and he is looking forward to sharing the fall foliage with visitors of all ages and capabilities...
Video Link
Source: MLive | Jacob Hamilton

deja vu May 25, 2018 11:13 PM

The new farmer's market in Saginaw is open for business -


Vendors, customers enjoy opening of Saginaw Farmer's Market
Jamie Sherrod | WNEM 5
May 25, 2018

SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) - After months of waiting to debut its new home, the summer has unofficially started with the opening of the Saginaw Farmer’s Market. While construction is still underway on the inside of the new SVRC Marketplace, the outside is bustling with business. “It’s actually a really good turnout so far. We had more people here when we were opening than we thought we would,” said Matt Herrell, vendor...

bnk May 26, 2018 1:24 AM

OMG what were they thinking when they did this?

Pure insanity. At least they did not bulldoze the sight for a parking lot. But the base and the Sullivan arches of this grand building are gone.
It boggles the mind how stupid humans can be.

The North One May 27, 2018 2:04 AM

Mid-century America was dumber than rocks.

Rizzo May 29, 2018 8:14 AM

Yeah it was terrible. The only fortunate thing was when they reclad they didn’t do any lasting permanent damage.

deja vu Jun 2, 2018 1:50 PM

A symbolic 'groundbreaking' was held on May 21, 2018 for the new Saginaw County jail. The direct-observation layout for the new $35.8 million structure has been promoted as a way to reduce the amount of staff required to operate the jail while increasing prisoner capacity. Spence Brothers is the CM for the project and Missouri-based Goldberg Group Architects designed the jail. It is expected to be completed by November 2019 - a pretty quick schedule.


New $35.8M Saginaw County jail to generate nearly 200 construction jobs
Isis Simpson-Mersha | MLive
May 21, 2018

SAGINAW, MI -- After years of planning, work on the new $35.8 million Saginaw County jail is set to commence, bringing up to 200 construction jobs along the way. County and city officials celebrated a groundbreaking for the Saginaw County Adult Detention Center Monday morning, May 21, taking shovels to a pile of dirt in a symbolic gesture...
Source: MLive | Courtesy Saginaw County / GGA
Source: MLive | Courtesy Saginaw County / GGA

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