Muskegon Heights development authority working to fill empty storefronts

Muskegon Heights store fronts

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MICH. - The Downtown Development Authority in Muskegon Heights has several vacant storefronts it's trying to fill -- one non-profit is planning to move there next month.

The DDA's new effort to fill storefronts in downtown includes lease rates as low as $200 a month.

Half of the commercial space in downtown Muskegon Heights is vacant. Some of those locations are owned by the city's downtown development authority.

"The DDA is being very proactive in repairing, renovating, and marketing the storefronts they own," said Jake Eckholm, the Muskegon Heights city manager.

The DDA wants those location occupied. The locations will be drastically renovated in an effort to get them move-in ready.

If successful, the effort not only will fill the storefronts owned by the DDA but other adjacent storefronts that are also vacant. That's why lease rates are set to just basically cover the annual property taxes.  

A lease is already singed for 26 East Broadway.

"It is a move-in ready office space with lots of square footage," Eckholm said. 

Read Muskegon is relocating from this small space at a Muskegon church to Downtown Muskegon Heights. The non-profit will occupy 26 East Broadway.

Read Muskegon President Melissa Moore says the move in day will happen around May 1.

The location is right in the heart of downtown Muskegon Heights. Read Muskegon offers programming for low-literacy adults and their children. The location in Muskegon Heights will allow Read Muskegon to open a Family Literacy Center.

Moore is confident others businesses and agencies will follow Read Muskegon's move into Muskegon Heights.

"Given the momentum and just the spirit I feel from the community and the leadership there it will not be long before that whole block is filled," Moore said.  

All of the leases offered by the DDA include options for the business or organization to eventually purchase the building.

The DDA is also pledging to spend $500,000 this year on streetscape enhancements in the downtown commercial corridor. 

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