GRAND BLANC, MI — For Erik Perkins, it all came into being in February 2020, before the pandemic brought the world to a halt.
He asked Grand Blanc city officials if they were interested in building a beer garden near Physicians Park downtown.
It was the dream of Perkins and his wife Sara. Perkins coaches businesses to make a living, and with the pandemic shutdown, his journey has slowed.
“I said, ‘Maybe this is when we start exploring the city and have (an) opportunity to build whatever we wanted to do here in downtown Grand Blanc,'” Perkins said. “Although there wasn’t much development in our downtown area at the time and I was curious as to why.”
More than two years later, her dream became a reality.
An $11 million mixed-use building is planned for downtown Grand Blanc.
Grand Blanc, LLC’s Garden Building received a $4.9 million Real Estate Rehabilitation Award on September 7 for the construction of the Garden Building at 210 Reid Road adjacent to Physicians Park.
It is a 30,000 square foot building that will house retail stores, a restaurant, entertainment and events on the first floor. Office space, meeting rooms and five residential units are being built on the second floor.
Part of the project was funded by the Michigan Strategic Fund. The other money was raised by Perkins’ friends and family.
“I was fortunate that every person I asked along the way who wanted to help with this really put their heart and soul into it,” said Perkins. “And so it took two years for everyone to go through the ups and downs of each development.”
Perkins made his proposal to Michigan Economic Development and won the grant.
Government funding for the project is part of the $83.8 million awarded under the Revitalization And Placemaking (RAP) program for 22 statewide community development projects.
The RAP program is designed to stimulate investments that address the stock of vacant, underutilized office, commercial and community spaces due to the pandemic by supporting efforts to reuse them for the community.
Perkins said helping build a strong downtown is important to him. A large part of the area is a former residential area, the buildings no longer exist.
“There are many arguments against the natural construction of a city center; mainly that there wasn’t one to begin with,” Perkins said. “I hope the development brings that intangible element that feels like a heartbeat by really just creating a development that’s very open-minded and open-minded, so that we have a beer garden that anyone can sit in, without.” the pressure to go.”
Perks of the development include an ice rink where Perkins will lend skates to people and a fountain with running water, he said. The sound of the water will add a “human connection point to nature,” he said.
The hope is to hit the ground running this winter and take about 16 months to build the development, he said. The aim is to officially open in about two years.
“Everyone who spent money on the project honestly put their heart first, and everyone took some risk with this project,” Perkins said.
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