Development seminar spurs ideas for the Great Lakes Bay Region

Have you ever driven by an old building or an empty lot in your community and thought: “That would be a great use for something and somebody should do something about it?”

If you have, you might have what it takes to be a small-scale developer.

Recently, a meeting of the minds around small to medium-scale development took place at City Market in Bay City for those interested in community development, complements of local developers and national nonprofit development initiative, Incremental Development Alliance.

With an eye for local development in the region, the group, comprised of almost 50 participants heard from Jim Kumon, Executive Director for Incremental Development Alliance, Jim Tishchler, Development Director for the State of Michigan Land Bank and real estate developer Jenifer Acosta, from Jenifer Acosta Development.

The session was an abridged version of the full day workshop and a catch-up for those interested in participating in Incremental Development’s upcoming two-day fast track Michigan Small Developer Boot Camp on February 23-24 in Albion, Michigan.

The Alliance brings together the many individuals, institutions, foundations, and grassroots groups that critical in making community development projects work. Incremental Development Alliance teaches the small how-to’s to the inspired doers that are dedicated to local small-scale neighborhood development in communities across the nation.

Participants have several advantages from attending these workshops, including networking with other small-scale developers in the region, getting practical and technical advice from those who have gone through the experience before and graduates of the IncDev two-day workshops qualify for deeply discounted land pricing options from the State of Michigan Land Bank.

The group learned about the different options about making the most of building code thresholds, optimizing for the best rental price points and helpful rules for making the most of mixed-use developments. Kumon also shared some of the golden rules for making projects successful, like never falling in love where you stop seeing it as an investment and always insisting revenues match costs.

“We have several communities in the region that are ripe for development in that even small projects have the ability to make a big impact,” says Jenifer Acosta. “We have experienced that with the overhaul of the Bay City Times building, the new pavilion in Wenonah Park and now with the completion and transformation of the former Crapo Building into The Legacy, which houses 26 residential units and three new commercial spaces.”

“Small to mid-scale development is something that the region needs in order to continue to make a sustainable impact and positive change in our community.”

You can find more information about the upcoming Michigan Small Developer Boot Camp here.

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