Reinvention isn't a once in a lifetime thing for 64 New Street. It's more of a habit for the building in downtown Mt Clemens. What started out as the Gilbert Baptist Church in 1908 later became a warehouse and then a photography studio. Now it's about to go down yet another road when it reopens as the New Street Lofts before the end of the year.
Developer Ted Schollenberger, also chair of the Mt Clemens Downtown Development Authority, hopes the six new loft apartments, just west of Main Street, will help breathe more life into downtown by bringing in more potential customers within easy walking distances of the local businesses. The lofts will remain rentals for a couple of years, but Schollenberger hopes to build 34 more lofts around it on what was once the church's parking lot and sell them as condos, similar to what he did with the River Lofts project.
"I very much believe in building more residents downtown," Schollenberger says. "I think that is the missing link. The more residences downtown the more it will help."
The New Street Lofts will encompass the normal loft principals of exposed utility lines and other raw building features, open floor plans with few walls and large windows. There will also be balconies in the units, which will range in size from 700 to 1,100 square feet. Some will also allow for live/work options that could even open up some ground floor retail space. However, the 6,400-square-foot building will be primarily residential.
That's a big change from its history. After the Baptist church moved on the building was ravaged by fire in 1979. It then served as, among other things, a warehouse and then the studio for Michael Robinson Photography. Schollenberger bought it and is investing $800,000 into it with the idea that it could be much more and help add life to downtown.
"The exterior is in pretty good shape," Schollenberger says. "It's still an old stone church."
Source: Ted Schollenberger, developer of the New Street Lofts
Writer: Jon Zemke
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