Downtown Albion has been undergoing construction with its new layout of Superior Street to help bring more life back to the town. This new construction also creates a new demand for more businesses downtown. Many empty storefronts may soon be filled because of this. Downtown’s newest stores include Yesterday’s News, the Bohm II, the Courtyard Marriot Hotel, Albion Malleable Brewing Company and Sterling Books & Brew.
With the replacement of water mains and sewer lines under the roads on Superior Street, there are many more opportunities for the buildings.
“You’ll see more resource-intensive things there — like apartments, restaurants and businesses — that need the bigger water mains,” said Danielle Nelson of the Albion Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
The store’s interiors themselves need work before anyone can move into them. The Albion Reinvestment Corporation (ARC) has been working with the EDC to get the work done. Nelson says the ARC has acquired a number of buildings downtown. Their plan is to launch a fundraising campaign in order to renovate about 20 storefronts and over 30 apartments downtown within the next three years.
ARC will be whiteboxing the empty storefronts. This means they will be updating the spaces and simply painting all of the walls white. Nelson says businesses will be able to start from scratch. The updated utilities and the ability for the businesses to alter the space will help make choosing Albion more attractive.
Businesses wanting to choose Albion creates many benefits for the town. These businesses will bring life back to Albion as they will attract more people to come here.
The new layout of Superior Street is also proving to be beneficial to the town.
“The new streetscaping is going to encourage more people to walk or bike,” Nelson explained. “The more foot traffic we have the more business we will bring in.”
There are also residential demands that come along with the new businesses. Nelson said the city needs to meet the demands of different ages and income levels, and this could mean renovating houses, condos or apartments. Senior citizens, specifically, have taken their own initiative. Nelson said they have been working to find a housing developer to build more senior housing in Albion.
“This is not common in a community,” Nelson says. “Normally that’s our job.”
Albion has a lot in store for it in the next few years, whether that be the work of the EDC or the citizens themselves.
Photos by Camille Roloff.