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Baldwin Vacant Building Being Redeveloped Into New Restaurant and Apartments

By 9and10news Site Staff,


BALDWIN – A vacant building is being redeveloped into a mixed-use space with a restaurant on the ground floor and three apartment units on the top floor.

Paul Santoro is co-owner of the building at 876 Michigan Avenue in downtown Baldwin. He visited town for the past thirty years for vacations and fishing trips with the family before moving to the area permanently.

Three years ago he purchased the vacant building along with Dina Velocci. They noticed an opportunity for a “fine-dining” experience in town.

“I think there was a market niche that was unmet,” says Santoro. “The redevelopment project also brings three additional apartments to the area to sort of increase the housing density.”

The three apartments will be one-bedroom units, New York loft style.

One-third of the project is privately-funded by Santoro and Velocci. Another third of the project is funded with grants from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation through their Strategic Fund.

There is also a tax incentive for redevelopment through the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act.

“The taxes that the owner of the project will pay, the property taxes will not increase for 13 years,” says Jim Truxton, Village of Baldwin President.

The total investment is around $1.5 million for the building. Santoro says the restaurant, named ‘876’, should bring in ten to twelve new jobs to the village.

“We know that that multiplier effect is going to have a huge impact on this community,” he says. “We’re happy to sort of like support the tourist economy as well as provide housing to the local community.”

He isn’t the only business owner that can invest in the community. MEDC grant funding is available at their website.

“Any building down here, any property, vacant properties they can apply for MEDC moneys and then just go through the process,” says Truxton. “It’s like any other financing process, you have to justify the project.”

The building is still set to open mid-September despite supply chain issues. Executive Chef Glenn Forgie is already creating a menu with the farm-to-table mindset, locally sourcing as much as possible.

Even local artists have been commissioned to design pieces for the restaurant. David Ruimveld, Caleb Goins, Angela Santoro and Justin Shamback are at work creating paintings, sculptures and mixed media.

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