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Developer Joe Ziolkowski updates DDA on Mack Building redevelopment project

Courtesy file photo. The Mack Building.

The Chelsea Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board was updated on the redevelopment of the Mack Building by developer Joe Ziolkowski.

And there’s potential good news.

Following an almost 30-month process, which has included working with numerous different officials at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MDEC), along with the city and the DDA, Ziolkowski was optimistic.

He said despite “running into many hurdles,” on the third round of bids, he thinks he’s found a contractor and closed the funding gap between his investment and state grant funding.

Ziolkowski is hoping to sign a contract next month with a contractor who meets the specific state-mandated guidelines to qualify for the grant.

If the contract is signed in April, Ziolkowski hopes to start construction in June, which will include extensive outdoor work – leaving basically the four outside walls in place, while demolishing the interior.

Once the “envelope” is closed-up, he said, construction will commence on the inside.

Although the project plans have changed throughout the process, Ziolkowski still plans to have four apartments on the upper floor and commercial space on the lower floor.

In an update on the Palmer event space, Chelsea City Manager John Hanifan said despite “the never-ending winter” that the project was still on schedule, and it’s expected that a representative of the construction company will provide an update and answer questions at the regular DDA meeting in April.

Hanifan said the community has contacted him about using the space but no scheduling can take place until the construction is completed.

In addition, provided the weather cooperates, DDA members may take a walking tour of the event space following its April 19 meeting.

“You’ll have to wear a hard hat,” Hanifan said.

Another project of interest to the DDA and the community is the former Federal Screw site.

Hanifan said he and Mayor Melissa Johnson met with representatives from Ann Arbor Spark, an organization that “offers select business acceleration services” according to its website.

Ann Arbor Spark assists in driving “the development of innovative technology startups by shortening the time required to attract capital, talent, customers and other strategic resources,” the website states.  

Hanifan said the organization was helpful in bringing businesses such as Gestamp to the city, which now occupies a formerly shuttered industrial site on Sibley Road.

The Chelsea City Council has had numerous discussions about ways to assist the owner of the beleaguered Federal Screw site on Main Street. Elected officials want to see it transformed it into an attractive and tax-producing location now that the remediation of this brownfield site is complete.

Hanifan reminded the DDA that there is a deed restriction that prohibits the site from including a residential component. However, officials are hoping there might be a way to change those provisions.

In a less than 20-minute meeting, the DDA also formally voted to set a budget work session for April 12 at 7:30 a.m., a week before the regular business meeting.

If you would like to view the video of the meeting produced by Randy Lee of RK Studios, it can be seen here.

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