The Adrian Mall location of RadioShack is not on the company's list of planned closures.

City generally supportive of tax incentives for potential mall buyer

Here’s an update on a story we told you about over the weekend: Adrian city commissioners signaled their support on Monday for tax incentives that could help a prospective Adrian Mall buyer demolish part of the property to make room for a new tenant. The discussion was only tentative, since no purchase agreed to and no formal request for incentives has been made. “They’re taking your temperature right now to see whether you’re willing to incentivize this project and how much you’re willing to incentivize it for,” economic development coordinator Chris Miller told commissioners. City administrator Shane Horn said the city has met with a few different investors who are interested in buying the mall, and one of them has an option to buy the property that they have until the end of the year to exercise. The part of the mall in question is where the Sears auto department used to be. Continue Reading

This addition at the rear of the former E.E. Tubba's is slated to be demolished with the help of state funding.

Blighted structure behind East Maumee Street buildings to come down

A state grant of $112,905 will be used to demolish a structure downtown that DDA director Chris Miller said is both a blighted building and a threat to the buildings next door. The structure in question is an addition at the rear of 109 E. Maumee St., the former location of E.E. Tubba’s, most recently Martin’s Classic Connection & Catering. Only about 6 feet of the structure can be seen from the outside. Miller said once it’s demolished, it will open up access to rear parking for businesses in that block. Besides allowing better access from downtown buildings to parking, Miller said, “we’re also going to demolish a blighted building which is damaging the buildings that share a common wall with it.” Continue Reading

Retail in downtown Adrian is the subject of a study by urban planner Bob Gibbs, which will be presented Monday at the Croswell.

Retail study of downtown Adrian to be presented Monday

The findings from a retail study of Adrian’s downtown will be presented at 6 p.m. Monday, July 28, at the Croswell Opera House. According to Downtown Development Authority director Chris Miller, the study will help Adrian figure out which businesses are likely to be successful downtown, which in turn will be information the city can use in attracting potential retailers — not just by reaching out to businesses in general categories, but by targeting specific retailers that the study indicates could do well here. The study was conducted by urban planner Bob Gibbs. In a letter to downtown business owners, Miller said Gibbs is “widely regarded as among the best in his field.” The DDA agreed to raise $25,000 in private donations to pay for the study. Continue Reading

The Adrian Mall location of RadioShack is not on the company's list of planned closures.

Adrian Mall is for sale

The Adrian Mall has been placed up for sale by its owner, Equity Group Investments. The news was reported Friday by WLEN. The mall, which opened in 1970, is owned by the Chicago-based Equity Group Investments and managed by Jones Lang LaSalle. Last summer, there was talk of a new big-box fashion retailer coming to the mall, along with plans for renovations. All plans are on hold pending the sale, said Chris Miller, economic development coordinator for the city of Adrian. Continue Reading

Federal funds will help add or improve apartments at 121 and 123 E. Maumee St., 120 E. Maumee St., and 109 N. Main St.

Federal grant to help add new downtown apartments

A federal grant will help pay to put seven new apartments into downtown Adrian buildings and renovate an eighth. The city applied for and received a Community Development Block Grant for the projects. The funds are federal but are administered by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The grant funds will pay for up to 75 percent of the work, up to $40,000 per unit, according to Downtown Development Authority director Chris Miller. The building owners will be responsible for the other 25 percent. Continue Reading

The Church Street parking lot in downtown Adrian is shown in this May file photo.

Commission takes several actions on Church Street parking lot project

The Adrian City Commission on Monday took several actions related to the reconstruction of the Church Street parking lot, which we previously wrote about here. Monday’s actions were:

Approving the purchase of a storage building in the parking lot from Joe and Mekilah Jenkins for $30,000. The building, visible in the photo attached to this story, will be demolished. In a memo to the city commission, Downtown Development Authority director Chris Miller said the purchase and demolition of the building “will significantly improve the layout of the parking lot as well as provide additional parking.” The money will come from the DDA’s budget. Continue Reading

Diane Rauser and Joyce Miller laugh while posing for a photo outside their new store, Sass.

New gift store ‘Sass’ opens in former Persnickety location

Gifts with a fun flavor and a local twist await visitors to Sass, a new gift store on East Maumee Street in downtown Adrian. The building is familiar to many downtown shoppers as the former home of Persnickety, a gift shop and interior design business. And former Persnickety shoppers will find a familiar face as well: Diane Rauser, who was the manager of Persnickety and who opened Sass on June 14 with business partner Joyce Miller. Rauser had worked at Persnickety for eight years, and when owner Tiffany Kapnick decided to move her interior design business to Ann Arbor, Rauser started thinking about opening a store herself. “I have a very big emotional attachment to this place,” she said. Continue Reading

Chris Miller, Adrian's economic development coordinator, speaks about SmartZones at a May 19 city commission work session.

Adrian wants to establish a ‘SmartZone’ for economic growth … here’s what it means

The Adrian City Commission on Monday took a step toward being able to create a “SmartZone,” an economic development tool that would bring in state money to help build both new and existing local businesses. Here’s the nutshell version: Fifteen SmartZones exist in the state. When investment in targeted properties happens, it increases the value of the property. If that property is in a state-approved SmartZone, a portion of the increased tax revenue is returned to the local government for use in economic development projects. That’s known as a “tax capture.” Continue Reading

The Church Street parking lot in downtown Adrian, pictured May 14, is scheduled for a complete reconstruction this summer. The small storage building shown here is to be purchased from its owner and demolished, making room for more parking spaces, and green space will be added, making the project eligible for a DEQ pollution-reduction grant.

Reconstruction of Church Street parking lot planned for this summer

A major reconstruction of the Church Street parking lot in downtown Adrian is planned for this summer. The work will add at least 10 to 12 spaces, according to project manager Todd Brown of the city engineering department. Trees and islands of green space will also be added, allowing the city to get a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality grant aimed at reducing pollution. “It is in poor shape,” Brown said of the lot. “It’s one of the worst parking lots in the city.” Continue Reading