New loft developments and businesses in downtown P …

New loft developments and businesses in downtown P …

A different form of holiday cheer is coming to downtown Pontiac this December in the shape of a 24-hour fitness center, a grocery store and 60 new residential units.

The area, which is inside the Woodward Loop, has witnessed a net gain of between 60 and 70 new businesses since the start of 2011, according to Glen Konopaskie, the president of the Downtown Business Association, with 90% of the residential units also being occupied.

This Saturday, which is also when the Holiday Extravaganza Parade takes place, will see the grand opening of developer Kyle Westberg’s Lafayette Place Lofts development on the corner of Lafayette and North Saginaw.

“I think I’ve seen a dozen buildings being improved or painted in the last few months,” Westberg says.  “The community is embracing and seeing it’s going to be positive for the downtown district and for Pontiac … and so they’re [making] improvements to their own properties.” Westberg’s development, which has cost $19.8 million, is located on the site that was once home to a Sears department store; it will now include the Lafayette Market Store and a 24-hour Anytime Fitness.  “We’ve been all over the community, going to local churches, going to the senior centers, all the major employers and letting everybody know about the market that’s coming.  The excitement is overwhelming.” Konopaskie notes that Lafayette Market Store is the only such fresh produce store downtown, which means that it is definitely something that is required in the city.

Prices for the 46 units up for grabs in the Lafayette Lofts will range from $1,295 per month for a two-bedroom unit to $675 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.  West Construction Services, Westberg’s company, made a move from Troy to downtown Pontiac six years ago, back in 2006, with Westberg noting that the firm was searching for somewhere that was a walkable, urban downtown area where the relocation of its offices could take place, and that the firm fell in love with the downtown district’s historic fabric.

Also opening in December, on the 15th, is Ten West Lofts from Jim and Greg Cunningham, a father and son development team.  Situated on the northwest corner of West Huron and North Saginaw Streets, the 14-unit development is located within a three-story building from 1884 that once housed the First Federal Savings & Loan.  The cost of the conversion to Ten West Lofts, which kicked off ten months ago back in the January of this year, was nearly $3 million.  Commercial tenants will occupy the ground floor of the Ten West Lofts building, with its 14 residential units ranging in price from $625 to $825 per month.

Over the course of the last 12 months, economic activity has increased in downtown Pontiac, according to Greg Cunningham, who says that most of the businesses that have arrived in that time continue to successfully thrive.

Lance Grooms