From the Economic Development Desk of the
November 18, 2020
You are receiving this email because your organization is at one of the economic development tiers with the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce. As always, we encourage your comments and questions.
This month’s report centers on several updates.
Developer Contacts – The developer calls have been few in recent weeks. We have one project still in the works with several moving pieces that need to be ironed out before we can make any type of announcement. Rest assured no one wants to get a deal announced more than I do. To that end, I am doing everything within my power to remove roadblocks and facilitate seeking solutions where necessary.  

Mid-Michigan Health– It is a beautiful sight each morning on my drive in to see the crane’s boom standing taller than anything in the region’s skyline. Each day more of the steel is being set as part of the new patient tower. This investment in our community is so important in helping attract additional outside developer investment the area. It cannot be understated on how important this project is for our community and the region. 

Downtown Alpena – The former John Henry (Antique Mall) building has recently sold and while we do not know the new owners plans for this building, we do know little was done over the last couple of decades to help that building realize it full potential. The building holds so much potential for our downtown and I am excited to see it in the hands of a new owner. Both Target and the DDA stand ready to assist if the new owner would like our help. The DDA is also working on a new program to allow for business expansion/recruitment into our DDA that will make relocation funds available to certain types of businesses in line with the DDA strategic priorities identified in a 2016 study. These funds will help with the expenses of moving into the DDA district.

Real Estate Values – I am sure many of you are aware of recent strength in our housing market.  I have heard several stories of houses selling in days (not months) with multiple offers and the final sale settling above the asking price. While this is a great time to be a seller, the good news is the elevation of housing values supported by comps from these transactions makes the viability of a condo project in the area more viable. Developers looking at the former Alpena Power site have all run into the same issue. Costs to build today exceed $200 per square foot. When local sales comps were coming in at $100 per foot, this value divide was too great to make the development project math work. The recent sales activity is helping close the gap.

US-23 North Development– Many of you have seen the ground clearing north of the Dean Arbor Ford dealership. It is great to see the continued capital investment in the northern part of the city. In the last decade we have seen significant construction north of Long Rapids Road. We are glad to see this trend continue.  
Lake Level Impacts– In a call I was involved in last week, I learned from the Rogers City Harbor Master that lake levels in Lake Huron have declined by 14” since August. Perhaps the worst is behind us and now we can avoid future damage to our shoreline and marinas. The cost of repairs has been hard on property owner and municipal budgets.  

Pandemic Assistance - Since the conclusion of the Federal Restart Grant Program late summer, I have been asked repeatedly if I thought more government assistance was going to be made available for small businesses. The recent rise of COVID-19 cases across the country and the measures being undertaken to stop or slow the spread, a whole new wave of economic pain is coming, and the government will need to do something to support businesses and individual families. State and Local budgets are also under tremendous strain. We know many businesses rely on holiday sales to carry them throughout the year. No doubt some small businesses will be negatively impacted by the recently implemented restrictions and reduced in person visits. Given this, I think our legislators will need to set partisan politics aside and think about their constituents. These are just my thoughts. If more programming becomes available, we will post it on our website and work to spread the word. This holiday season, please do your best to support our local businesses. 

In the meantime, be well!   

We here at the chamber and economic development are still focused on our missions and continue to work for you.
Chairman Level ($3,201+)
Alpena Agency, Inc.
Alpena Alcona Area Credit Union
Alpena Community College
Alpena County
Alpena Power Company
Bannan Funeral Home
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Charter Township of Alpena
City of Alpena
Edward Jones – Andrew Kowalski
Edward Jones – Bryan Strong
Edward Jones – Charles R. Ingle
Edward Jones – Eric M. Ferguson
Edward Jones – Marc K. Ferguson
Edward Jones – Pamela Kirchoff
H.P.C. Credit Union
Huntington Bank
Lappan Agency
MidMichigan Health
Presque Isle County
Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-Op
Wolverine State Credit Union

Leader Level ($3,200)   
Partner Level ($1,500) 
Alpena Community Credit Union
Alpena Public Schools
Bedrock Contracting and Excavating
Besser Company
Builders First Source
Clearview Car Wash
Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan
Downtown Development Authority
Decorative Panels International (DPI)
DTE Energy
Employment Services Inc. (ESI)
ITC Holdings, Corp.
Keystone Rental Equipment
LeFave Pharmacy and Compounding
MI Stop Citgo/MI Stop Deli
Northland Area Federal Credit Union
Pennzoil Ten Minute Oil Change Center of Alpena
PNC Bank
Propane Plus Inc.
Star Staffing Alpena
State Street Auto Wash
TCF Bank
Tier4 Technical Support
Timm Construction Company, LLC
Sponsor Level ($475)
Alcona Health Center 
Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Alpena Beverage Company
Alpena Biorefinery
Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library
Alpena Events Complex
Alpena Glass Company, Inc.
Alpena News Publishing Company
Alpena Supply Company
Austin Brothers' Beer Company
Ball Tire
Banner Realty
Besser Foundation
Besser Senior Living Community, Inc.
Boldrey, Senchuk, Rouleau & Williams, CPA's, PC
Bolenz Jewelry
Building Express Inc.
Capital One Spark Business
Century 21 Crow Realty
Clark Construction Company
Cliff Anschuetz Chevrolet Inc.
Cocoa Capital Corp
Compassus Hospice
Consumers Energy
Control Solutions Inc
Cutting Edge Construction
Dean Arbour Ford Lincoln
Devere Industrial, LLC
Downtown Union 76 LLC
Everett Goodrich, Inc.
Fiber Char
H&R Block
Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Huron Engineering & Surveying
Industrial Image, Inc.
Lewis & Lewis Professional Surveying, Inc.
McDonald's Restaurant
Meridian Contracting Services, LLC
Michigan Works Center
Midwest Diesel Service
Neiman's Family Market
Northern Abstract & Title Agency
Northern Eye
Omega Electric & Sign Company Inc.
Ossineke Industries
Plowman's Collision Service
Pompeyos Mexican Grill
Presque Isle Township
R.A. Townsend Company
R.S. Scott Associates, Inc.
Ramada Alpena
RE/MAX New Horizons
Real Estate One of Alpena
ServiceMaster Home & Office
Sherwin Williams
Sixty Minutes to Freedom
Skiba Insurance Service
SkyWest Airlines
Specification Stone Products
Straley Lamp & Kraenzlein P.C.
Stratford Group Ltd.
Sunrise Behavioral Health Clinic
Switzer Veterinary Clinic
Tarkington Family Dentistry
Team Elmer's
The Drug Store/Northern Exposure Framing & Matting
The Home Depot
Thunder Bay Accounting
Thunder Bay Electric, Inc.
Thunder Bay Eye Care
Thunder Bay Family Dentistry
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Thunder Bay Therapy & Sports Medicine
Thunder Bay Tree Services, LLC
True North Radio Network
W.G. Benjey Inc./S&A Company
Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating, Inc.
Werth Development, LLC
West Design Center
White, Wojda and Curtis
Wolf Family Dentistry
Wolgast Corporation
Young Appliance, Electronics, Furniture & Mattresses
Zen 24 Hour Fitness Center