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16000 E. Michigan Ave., Albion 49224

Imagining What Will Be Inside

Part one of this blog series discussed the cost of the Big Albion Plan and its six projects. Part two discussed historic preservation and why using historic tax credits is vital for the whole project. The Big Albio Plan will restore Albion’s unique historic buildings and bring them into the 21st century for businesses and residents to enjoy. The work completed in the years ahead will ensure that Albion’s downtown will remain for another 100 years.

The commercial storefronts that line Superior Street are nearly impossible to use as functioning business as they stand now. Outdated electrical, plumbing, and some structural challenges, these spaces do not work for starting or growing a small business. The Big Albion Plan will bring all the commercial areas up to code, replace and restore original windows and storefronts and make them work for new companies. Once complete, the spaces will be for rent, with a focus on locally owned businesses.

The second and, in some cases, third floors will be 1 and 2-bedroom loft-style apartment units. In total, the Big Albion Plan will bring about 60 apartment units to the Albion rental market. All apartments will include a washer/dryer, dishwasher, high ceilings, hardwood, or vinyl plank flooring. Additionally, behind some of the first-floor commercial spaces, barrier-free, fully ADA-accessible apartment units will be created. These first-floor units will provide an opportunity for the elderly or disabled to enjoy the amenities of living downtown and help ensure our community’s seniors can age in place.

Retaining the historical character will create unique apartment layouts that will feature original doors, large windows, and some original skylights.

These projects have and will take time to fund and build, and the best things are worth the wait. In total, about 20 storefronts and 60 apartment units, full of residents and businesses, will create a vibrancy in downtown Albion that many have not seen in their lifetime. Those who recall the days of J.C. Penny’s, soda shops, and candy stores remember it primarily as children. This transformation is and will be for the entire community of Albion to enjoy. Together we can rally around this transformation, lift our local entrepreneurs, and usher Albion into brighter days and an even more promising future for all.

About the Author

Tasi Martinez is a senior at Albion College majoring in Political Science and Business. Martinez is also a member of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.

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