Adrian College purchases Cornerstone Apartments for staff housing

The Cornerstone Apartments building has been purchased by Adrian College for staff housing.

Erik Gable

The Cornerstone Apartments building has been purchased by Adrian College for staff housing.

The Cornerstone Apartments building at the corner of South Main and Church streets in downtown Adrian has been purchased by Adrian College, which plans to use it as housing for coaches and other staff members.

Adrian College president holds up a T-shirt reading "Adrian: Open for Business," printed by Todd Harder of Red Paint Printing, during an announcement of Adrian College's purchase of Cornerstone Apartments.

Erik Gable

Adrian College president Jeffrey Docking holds up a T-shirt reading "Adrian: Open for Business," printed by Todd Harder of Red Paint Printing, during an announcement of Adrian College's purchase of Cornerstone Apartments.

The purchase was finalized Monday and announced this morning during a press conference at the City Chambers Building.

Jerry Wright, Adrian College’s vice president for business affairs, said the 28-unit building will have about 40 residents, most of them members of the coaching staff for the college’s growing athletic programs.

“The acquisition of this property serves the college by allowing us to move those employees downtown, thereby creating additional on-campus residency units for our students,” Wright said in a statement announcing the purchase. “We believe with the influx of these young professionals into the downtown area that it will add vibrancy and increased economic development.”

The building will remain on the city’s tax rolls. Frank Hribar, vice president for enrollment and student affairs, said student housing is tax-exempt but staff housing is not.

Adrian College said it would work with existing tenants to honor their lease agreements. About one-third of the units are currently vacant, and the college expects staff members to be in their apartments by fall, with tenants moving in as units are vacated.

Cornerstone Apartments was built in 1910 as the YMCA. It received extensive renovation after suffering heavy damage in a fire in June 2013.

Wright said the college is paying $1 million for the building and expects to put about $250,000 into work on the building for various modest improvements. The purchase has been in the works for about six months, he said.

College president Jeffrey Docking said Adrian College is proud to be part of downtown Adrian’s revitalization efforts, and board chairman Pat Farver said the college hopes its investment will be a catalyst for more growth.

Mayor Jim Berryman said the decision makes the city’s job easier when it comes to selling downtown to prospective retailers or developers. “With your investment, they’re going to look now and say ‘Adrian is a good place to do business,'” he said.

Jeff Willet owns Jeff Willet’s Powerhouse Gym across the street. “As a neighbor, I want to say welcome to the neighborhood,” he said. “Thumbs up.”

  • Whitney

    Adrian College is disgusting for kicking us out with barely 30 days notice. I’m done with this trashy small town.

  • Alan Goldsmith

    When I first read this story, that’s was what I was wondering. What about the lower income folks living there? It made me flash to how Ann Arbor is slowly driving out those with lower incomes and how the Detroit revival is doing the same to certain neighborhoods. While that isn’t the same as this one downtown Adrian building, it’s something to not lose track of as an issue in the years to come.