$1 million grant to help restore building on Sault Ste. Marie's Ashmun Street

Historic building in downtown Sault Ste. Marie at 538 Ashmun St. is shown.
Historic building in downtown Sault Ste. Marie at 538 Ashmun St. is shown.

SAULT STE. MARIE — State grants and local effort will bring a historic building back to life in the heart of downtown Sault Ste. Marie.

The revitalization and placemaking grant (RAP) has been used to help communities in Michigan recover from economic impacts caused by COVID-19 by funding projects which otherwise would be left incomplete.

Now in the second round of grants, almost $100 million has been spread throughout Michigan communities.

“Our historic downtown is the heart of the community, and our citizens reap the benefits when commercial buildings are put back into productive use," said DDA Director Stephanie Sprecker. "Each improvement is progress towards the prevention of deterioration in our downtown business district, historic preservation, and the promotion of economic growth."

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Historic building in downtown Sault Ste. Marie at 538 Ashmun St. is shown.
Historic building in downtown Sault Ste. Marie at 538 Ashmun St. is shown.

The historic building in Sault, 538 Ashmun St., was constructed in the early 1900s and has been used for many purposes over the years.

Considered a historic building and part of the historic commercial district, 538 Ashmun has been home to many different businesses, including a co-operative super-service store.

In more recent years, it was home to Co-Ed Flowers & Gifts but the owners later moved out. There was a small fire in the upstairs residential area in 2021, and the building has been vacant ever since.

"We are incredibly thankful for the developer of this project as the building has sat vacant for over two years, with a need for substantial renovations. With the awarding of this RAP 2.0 grant from the MEDC, the developer is gaining resources to make the revitalization of this historical building a reality,” said Sprecker.

After it is renovated, the building will be home to two storefronts as well as some market-rate apartments on the upper floors.

The storefronts and apartments plan to be finished by 2025 and available for use.

— Contact Brendan Wiesner: BWiesner@Sooeveningnews.com

This article originally appeared on The Sault News: Sault Ste. Marie building restoration plan gets boost with grant