June 21st, 2024

NCEDP assists Slate Building with Hesperia renovation

Local pharmacy to add three housing units to second floor

Newaygo County Community Development Place

Today, the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership (NCEDP), powered by The Right Place, Inc., in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), announced that the Slate Building in Hesperia will be adding three housing units to the second floor. The MEDC plans to support the project with a Build MI Community (BMC) Initiative grant.

The renovation of the Slate Building in Hesperia marks a significant milestone for the village, being the first major community development in over 40 years. This project, initiated by Slate Property Co, aims to revitalize the historic building by adding three housing units to the second floor. This development is set to provide much-needed housing and invigorate the local economy, reflecting the company's commitment to fostering progress and enhancing community life in Hesperia.

The Slate Building has a rich history dating back to the mid to late 1800s when it was originally constructed at Aetna Corners. The building was moved to downtown Hesperia, and has since served various purposes, including a village mercantile, pool hall, and mortuary. In 1956, Robert and Elaine Slate transformed it into Bob's Drugs pharmacy, unofficially naming it the Slate Building. The second floor was their family home. It has seen minimal upgrades over the years. For more information on the history of the Slate Building and the upcoming project, visit the Slate Property Co website.

“The Slate Building project began as an idea to preserve our family legacy and quickly turned into a community project to help create momentum for future growth in Hesperia,” said Aaron Slate of Slate Property Co. “From our project’s beginning, I was overwhelmed with the amount of support and encouragement we received from our community.”

“This project will truly change the look and feel of our small downtown,” said Mike Farber, Hesperia Village President. “As the project begins, we are hopeful it will encourage other businesses to apply for help through the programs that are available.”

The NCEDP worked closely with the MEDC and Slate Property Co. to coordinate state and local resources, including helping obtain an award under the Build MI Community Initiative (BMC) in the form of a grant, in the amount of up to $227,705, or approximately 32% of eligible investment for the project. Additionally, Slate Property Co was awarded $90,000 to support the new housing units from the Newaygo County Housing Partnership Fund, a collaboration between the Fremont Area Community Foundation and the County of Newaygo. Slate Property Co also received a $125,000 Program Related Investment loan from the Fremont Area Community Foundation.

“This project will energize a tired building to a renewed use, add desperately needed housing to Hesperia’s downtown and is providing an opportunity for the Slate family to invest in the place they’ve done business for generations,” said Julie Burrell, Senior Economic Development Director of NCEDP and project lead. “This project is creating something for the entire community to get excited about for the first time in a long time.”