In 2008, the Owosso Armory was abandoned when the Michigan National Guard left it for a new facility.
State Rep. Ben Frederick, R-Owosso, secured funding in a recently passed budget supplemental bill that will allocate $327,500 in support of the Owosso Armory Project, according to the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce.
In 2017, the Chamber Support Corp. bought the Owosso Armory from the Michigan Office of Military and Veterans Affairs – the plan being to bring the historic building back to life and make it useful to the community by providing public restrooms, community space, leasable offices and business incubators.
The purchase was to be completed before the project developer could perform any exploratory demolition. A significant additional expense was incurred when the demolition eventually took place and problems with the initial construction of the building were found. A hollow clay tile referred to as “pyro-brick” was used and did not meet today’s construction code.
Chamber President and CEO Jeff Deason stated, “Nobody was aware of the inconsistency between the construction materials and the original blueprints prior to the project beginning. We were well into the project when the building’s instability was discovered. This unforeseen circumstance, excess time and expense, had a cascading effect on the financial package for the project, and we are thankful that state Representative Frederick led the effort to educate and advocate making us whole on the additional expense.”
Frederick’s effort, as well as the efforts of many others, paid off.
“When my office was made aware of the unanticipated costs incurred due to inaccurate state-provided blueprints, I certainly felt this needed to be made right,” said Frederick. “Meetings began this past spring and culminated in this much-needed appropriation last month. Our community continues to celebrate this visual success in downtown Owosso, and this funding secures this project as a landmark for decades to come.”
There are still a limited number of business spaces at the armory. For leasing information, contact Woodworth Commercial at (989) 723-3711.