Manistee-American Cleaners (002)-600x171
Manistee, Mich. – A vision for the American Cleaners site

As part of a public planning process broadly focused on downtown Manistee and the Manistee riverwalk, the Manistee Downtown Development Authority (DDA) identified the former American Cleaners site as a top priority. The site, spanning 283 and 295 River Street, is part of the downtown’s gateway intersection with US Highway 31. It suffers from environmental contamination and vacancy, but sits at a high-visibility location with the potential to draw passerby into downtown.

The DDA, chamber of commerce, city and county agreed to work together to consider redevelopment options for this site. Faculty from Michigan State University’s Sustainable Built Environment Initiative worked with those stakeholders and residents of the community to draft a conceptual design for the property, pictured above.

BRI's site layout attempted to maximize visibility and usable space on a constrained site.

BRI’s site layout attempted to maximize visibility and usable space on a constrained site.

The city then requested pre-development assistance in the form of a feasibility evaluation of the site vision. The League and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation engaged Beckett & Raeder, Inc., a planning, design and engineering firm, to refine the MSU concept and test it against local market conditions.

Beckett & Raeder compiled local construction costs, commercial and retail rents, and site remediation/preparation estimates while working with project stakeholders on design specifics.  The consultants provided a pro forma and analysis to the city identifying the physical and financial constraints to be addressed in positioning the site for redevelopment.