Historic preservation and economic development are concepts that sometimes find themselves at odds with one another. How does one, after all, weigh the importance of preserving the architectural and cultural ties to a community's past against its economic future?
Thanks to small business owners with vision, cities around the state aren't having to make that choice. Adaptive reuse of historic buildings are breathing new life in to structures that may have outlived their original purpose, but will never outlive their charm. Reimagining these old buildings as new ventures has done more than add one more business to their respective neighborhoods; they've filled long-vacant holes, sometimes blighted and defunct structures that have held back economic progress.
By preserving the historic nature of their buildings while giving them a new, innovative purpose, these small businesses have created economic growth throughout their neighborhoods. In Pontiac, Oakland County's oldest building is now a live performance venue, generating an employee base and bringing thousands of monthly visitors to the rebounding downtown. An industrial building in Lansing may have lost its way when the auto industry took a hit, but one decorative artist has put it back on track in one of the city's up and coming neighborhoods. In Ypsilanti, two related businesses give voice to the community's artists and musicians through abandoned industrial spaces.
Here, we'll look closer at those projects and discover how making something totally new from something historically meaningful has delivered a one-two development punch throughout each of their neighborhoods.
Old Buildings With New Uses Inspire Development