(Monroe, MI) –  The Monroe Downtown Development Authority is hoping to remove the cloak of mystery surrounding the requirements and costs associated with redevelopment of unused or underutilized upper floors of buildings in the downtown district.  Two properties have been selected to participate in a pilot project that provides a site and feasibility analysis to determine what it will take to return these spaces to productive economic use.  The Ann Arbor-based firm Mitchell & Mouat Architects was contracted to complete the project after a formal selection process.

The properties under review are 113 East Front Street, owned by TEC Holdings, and 12-14 West Front Street, owned by Frank Grzywacki.

The idea for the case study first originated in the DDA’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan.  A program description was created and an open application process conducted.  The project has been championed by DDA board chair Joe Peruski and member Les Lukacs, with additional input from the City’s building department.

“Downtown residences are hot,” said Peruski.  “Armed with clear information, these owners may move forward by investing in the creation of new places to live downtown.  Conversely, there may be opportunity to move offices upstairs to open up the main floor to a retail or other use that helps generate foot traffic.”

The project kicked off on February 21, 2019 with an introduction and tour of the participating properties.  Lukacs noted the differences in the properties.

“On one hand, we have a second floor that already has been completed gutted.  It’s a clean slate and not hard to imagine a cool loft there.  On the other, we have on a third floor a former bar and dance club.  It’s in a much larger building and presents unique challenges,” said Lukacs.

The project is slated for completion by May, 2019.