It’s been part of downtown Middleville since the late 1800’s. Still structurally sound, the three-story tan brick building at the corner of Railroad and Main streets has held many businesses. Some remember Liebler’s, a clothing store, some can remember further back and other businesses.
Most remember its years as the village Post Office and for a time, a variety store.
It’s showing its age, and needs extensive repairs, but is still sound and after years being vacant and neglected, is ready to be of use to the community again.
At the celebration of the project’s “groundbreaking” Monday, Zoning Administrator Brian Urquhart said he often looked out the front window of the village hall and wondered if it would ever have tenants again.
“This is the result of years of hard work,” he said. The Lofts of Middleville is an investment of three-quarters of a million dollars, mixed use development. In addition to interior improvements, the exterior will have major repairs, with bricks and masonry upgrade, new windows added to the third floor, windows and doors replaced, new siding on the front and a closed stairwell in the rear for renters, he said. “This will be a catalyst for Middleville and with the community development status, prime for development.”//
Joanna Schlientz, the owner with husband Chad, explained the plans. Each of the three stories has 3,000 square feet, for a total of 9,000 square feet. The upper floor will hold four apartments, the first floor a combination of retail and possibly a restaurant, the lower level will be retail and offices. ‘We’ve been working on this for two and a half years,” she said. “We hope to have it done and ready for showing in six months.”
In his remarks, Chad Schlientz said they appreciated all the people working with them, helping them with their “vision of getting things to come together and help us out…the village and the township helped us along the way...this is a fantastic building.”
MEDC Executive Vice President Greg Tedder said all the background work done to get to where they are today is paying off. “This will have a huge impact on Middleville,” he predicted. An MEDC grant for $352,850 will help fund the Lofts; the Middleville DDA put in $27,000 for a new façade.
“Middleville has so much to offer,” 87th District State Rep. Julie Calley said. “Jobs are here and they are in close proximity to many opportunities. We value what Middleville offers. Businesses want to be in Middleville, making it the place to be.”
“101 E. Main Street was the focal point for activity for Middleville community for decades,” Village Manager Duane Weeks said. “After its rehabilitation, this building will reclaim its previous place and even more moving forward. The resulting renovated historic building will invigorate activity and a sense of place into Middleville and throughout the community.
“In one’s professional and personal lives you find opportunities that transform the future through steadfast effort or involvement in a project such as The Lofts of Middleville. The renovation and repurpose of 101 East Main Street is one of those opportunities for the Village of Middleville.”
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