Lofts at Lumber Square breaks ground in Petoskey
by Jillian Fellows
Originally Published in The Petoskey News-Review
PETOSKEY — David Jones, executive director of the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, said it takes “resilience and hardiness” to attend an outdoor groundbreaking in Northern Michigan in November.
The cold weather didn’t stop residents, local officials and state representatives from celebrating a milestone moment in the development of the Lofts at Lumber Square project.
The 60-unit apartment complex at 900 Emmet St. in Petoskey is intended for middle income households and is protected by deed restrictions that will ensure the apartments remain affordable.
The $17 million project has many partners, and is led by Haan Development and Northern Homes Community Development Corporation with financial support from the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, IFF, First Community Bank, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Construction will be provided by Wolverine Building Group.
Jones said the project has only made it this far thanks to the project partners, which spans a diverse array of public and private partnerships, and to the power of philanthropy.
“The community foundation will bring, when it’s all said and done, over $4 million in charitable dollars to this project,” he said. “That’s been made possible by community-minded donors, individuals and foundations. Thanks to so many, the Lofts at Lumber Square will soon be home to almost 165 members of our community. I cannot emphasize enough that this project would not be possible without those generous donors, and many more donors to come over the next 18 months.”
Dan Leonard, redevelopment services director for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, said Lofts at Lumber Square is not only an example for Northern Michigan, but for the entire state.
“This does not happen by chance. This does not happen by just a whim. It was a lot of behind the scenes to set the table and get things ready,” he said. “It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of effort. Fortunately, we have very resilient members as part of all of this. And the need is beyond a doubt.”
With the official groundbreaking, Jones said they hope to have construction equipment onsite this month or December. They have planned for the project to be finished and occupants starting to move in by early 2025.
“In addition to 60 affordable workforce housing units near downtown Petoskey, I think it’s going to be an example in the community of what can be done,” Jones said. “We’ve talked a long time, probably decades, about the need for housing in this community and we’ve talked it into a crisis. And now it’s time to take some action and I hope this is going to be an example of how we can get more done.”