Built in 1908, the Borden Creamery Building in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, sat vacant for 40 years. In 2003, Central Michigan Developers, LLC of Midland saw potential in the decaying building and site and negotiated a purchase agreement option with the Mount Pleasant Economic Development Corporation. When the city of Mount Pleasant agreed to move city offices into a portion of the building upon completion, the project’s success was ensured. Being a nationally-registered historic landmark, the rehabilitation required following protocol with strict attention to detail. The appearance of the original, single-pane, double hung windows had to be duplicated exactly.
Obtaining exact field measurements and recreating the muntins was extremely challenging. Each window was required to pass strict federal guidelines. In addition, the rehabilitation of the 40,000-square-foot building required substantial environmental cleanup, including the removal of significant amounts of lead and asbestos. In the end, the cleanup and historic rehabilitation transformed the west end of the downtown area.
The Borden Creamery Building was the perfect opportunity for Central Michigan Developers (CMD) and team to showcase the benefit of historic rehabilitation and its effect on economic development. The project drew in $10.2 million from direct investments, leading to the creation of 130 new jobs. By leveraging historic restoration guidelines, economic development tools and incentives, CMD not only ensured long-term use for the historic Borden Creamery Building, but also revitalized the city’s downtown district by drawing people to the area.
Comments from Project Associates
Central Michigan Developers is pleased to announce that the rehabilitation of the Borden Creamery Building was successfully completed on time and within budget.
“We are all very proud of this project and the exceptional dedication and effort put forth by both the City of Mount Pleasant and CMD, in spite of numerous and significant obstacles,” states James E. Johnson, President and CEO of J.E. Johnson, Inc., and managing member of CMD. “In partnership with the city, and with tremendous and unwavering support from numerous state agencies, we’ve just completed one of the most unique and pioneering economic development projects in the history of this state.” Johnson also noted that this is the first time in the history of the state that a private developer has partnered with a municipality to accomplish a project of this magnitude and utilize formerly unavailable state support and incentive programs to lower the overall cost of the project. “The citizens of this community have supported our efforts to save the Borden Building and they now possess a significant historic structure they can be proud of for years to come,” says Johnson. “This project has been the most complex historical renovation completed in the state of Michigan.”