MASON (WILX)-- A downtown property in Mason that's starting to crumble away would have been a total loss if it wasn't for a $500,000 dollar grant.
The grant was announced by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority on Friday. 124 and 140 Ash Street will be brought back up to code, made into 12 new residential apartments, and will have 5,000 feet of first floor commercial space. Neighboring retailers are excited to see the building come back to life.
"It hurts business because it looks like junk. It looks horrible. You have all these beautiful store fronts in Mason and than you have that," said The Golden Shear Hairstylist Kathy Nystrom.
Mason actually has more people working in it than living in it, according to Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Douglas Klein. The apartments will hopefully provide more room for those who want to live closer to work.
"It will bring more people to the area and it won't just look like abandoned buildings any more," said Nystrom.
The project will cost anywhere from $1,000,000 -$2,000,000 dollars to restore the buildings. The MSHDA grant ensures the project will go on, but there is still a lot to get done before any real work on the building will begin.
"The key here is to find the right developer. A developer that would not only take care of the retail portion which is the lower parts of these buildings but the upper parts as well," said Klein.
The buildings have been vacant for almost a decade. The walls of the buildings are crumbling off and the inside is rotted out.
"The building absolutely needs to be brought back up to code. Otherwise it could be a danger to the community," said City Administrator Martin Colburn.
Colburn says the project will take 1-2 years to complete.
We will keep you updated with what stores end up moving in.