Redevelopment of Petoskey's historic Michigan Maple Block building gets financial boost from state

What’s happening: The planned redevelopment of a Petoskey industrial site into more than 200 units of affordable workforce housing was recently awarded a $2 million performance-based direct loan and state tax capture from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The redevelopment of the historic Michigan Maple Block Company building has received similar state support for environmental remediation efforts in the recent past, with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) awarding the project a $1 million Brownfield Redevelopment Grant and $1 million Brownfield Redevelopment Loan in September 2023.

What it is: The approximately 12-acre-site at 1420 Standish Ave. in Petoskey was home to the Michigan Maple Block Company for nearly 90 years, where the company manufactured butcher blocks from 1911 until 2020. Real estate and private equity firm Great Lakes Capital plans to build an eight-building apartment development atop the site, featuring 204 units of workforce and multifamily housing. It’s expected that construction will wrap come spring 2026.

The $2 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based direct loan and state tax capture from MEDC will support Act 381-eligible activities, including lead and asbestos abatement.

Why it’s important: “Maple Block Flats will supply much-needed housing for Petoskey and the northern Michigan region as a whole,” says Jeff Smoke, managing director and principal for developer Great Lakes Capital. “This is the definition of a true public/private partnership with a multitude of workforce housing incentives being utilized for a project that would otherwise not be developable. We are fortunate to have the support of EGLE, MEDC, MSDHA, Emmet County Brownfield and Land Bank along with of course the City of Petoskey, who has been a strong supporter of this project since day one.” 

Bonus content: In addition to repurposing the former industrial site for much-needed workforce housing, Great Lakes Capital will add a bike and walking trail along the site’s east side and connect it to downtown Petoskey. Great Lakes will also build an easement on the southend, which will eventually support a pedestrian bridge to be built over Bear River, connecting to the North County Trail.

What they’re saying: “The City of Petoskey appreciates the ongoing financial investment of the MEDC to support workforce housing initiatives,” says Petoskey City Manager Shane Horn. “This project converts a vacant, blighted industrial site along the Bear River to much needed housing for Petoskey and Emmet County. This project has moved forward due to a collaborative, solution-based approach of all community stakeholders and state partners. The City looks forward to working with the Great Lakes Capital team in completing the revitalization of this beautiful location.”

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