ESCANABA - The Lofts on Ludington project is pursuing its own Olympic-sized endeavors as it jumps through all the official hoops the city and state are requiring.
Thursday, the Escanaba City Council approved a resolution of support stating the Lofts on Ludington project is in compliance with requirements of a $200,000 grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, also known as MSHDA.
MSHDA officials presented the grant to local businessman Matt Sviland two weeks ago for facade improvements on the 108-year-old brick structure formerly known as the Delta Building at 1615 Ludington St.
Sviland plans to create 16 one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment. The ground floor will include retail space. Completion date is set for the spring of 2010.
"It's exciting. Here we are," said Sviland, with a sigh of relief, following Thursday's council meeting.
He and his wife, Beth, shook the hands of council members, thanking them for their support along the way. They also thanked City Manager Jim O'Toole, City Assessor Elizabeth Keller and Downtown Development Authority Director Roger Good.
"'We hit a snag along the way but we're moving full steam ahead."
Sviland said he's been working on this project for the past year and a half. He purchased the building in January and has since gone through many hoops to get the project approved.
Last month, the planning commission did not okay the project's site plan because of parking concerns. After Sviland made some adjustments with parking, the zoning board approved a variation to allow the project to move forward. The planning commission gave its nod of approval to the site plan last week.
"The process worked...as outlined in the city charter," said Sviland Thursday. "We hit a snag along the way but we're moving full steam ahead."
Outlining the project's timetable, Sviland said, "The process right now is the architect is finalizing construction plans."
From there, exterior work on the building will begin including roofing, brickwork and windows. Sviland will work with the state throughout the renovation process to insure changes meet historical building requirements.
Project developers are also pursuing all green options on the building including wind as an alternative energy source, he added.
Sviland said he's already received some interest from individuals to rent lofts and retail space.