Michigan's City Uptown Artspace project is moving from artist rendering to the construction stage later this year, city officials said Thursday, thanks to an estimated 10-million dollars in federal tax credits. The announcement said the project will infuse funds to redevelop the iconic, six story, circa 1920's and currently vacant Warren Building on Franklin Street into a renovation that will feature 44 affordable artist live-work spaces and commercial retail and gallery space. [Image courtesy City of Michigan City]
Just last month (January), the city received notification that the historic Franklin Street Downtown District, where the building is located, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
A team made up of representatives of the national non-profit developer Artspace, working with Michigan City officials, received the news Thursday morning at an Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority meeting.
“This award confirms what we have believed throughout this journey, that Michigan City, Indiana is the next great economic opportunity on Lake Michigan,” Mayor Ron Meer said upon hearing the news.
“I would like to thank Governor Pence, Lt. Governor Ellspermann, and the IHCDA for this award of tax credits and for recognizing the important revitalization opportunities in downtown Michigan City,” Meer said, also pointing out help from State Senator Jim Arnold.
“This was a team effort. We are beaming with pride in Michigan City to be the first Artspace project in the State of Indiana,” Meer continued.
The project will infuse an estimated $12 million dollars in funds to redevelop the iconic Warren Building, a six story vacant structure on historic Michigan City’s main downtown thoroughfare, Franklin Street.
Councilman Tim Bietry made the initial call to invite Artspace to Michigan City in 2008, which led to a pre-development contract with Artspace, the largest non-profit developer of artist spaces in the country.
A city team that included Bietry, Mayor Ron Meer, former Mayor Chuck Oberlie, Redevelopment Commission President Ken Behrendt, Councilman Rich Murphy, and City Planning Director Craig Phillips worked with Artspace representatives for more than three years to achieve the tax credit award.
Bietry said on Thursday, “This is an example of what can be achieved when talented people who want the best for their community step forward and work together.”
Artspace President Kelley Lindquist acknowledged the very competitive process for obtaining the tax credits.
“With 44 tax credit applications filed and only 15 funded in this round, we’re thrilled to be able to move to the next step in this process and grateful to the IHCDA for recognizing the value of this project,” Lindquist said. “We’re proud to be part of Michigan City’s commitment to redevelop downtown and are confident that this project and the arts will contribute greatly to those efforts.”