New $12.6M STEM Center Coming to Downtown Ypsilanti

Ann Arbor-based Michigan Innovation Headquarters (MI-HQ), a developer of life science and technology workspaces, has purchased Eastern Michigan University’s former College of Business headquarters, the Gary Owens Building in downtown Ypsilanti, for $2.6 million.
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MI-HQ has purchased Eastern Michigan University’s former College of Business headquarters, the Gary Owens Building in downtown Ypsilanti, for $2.6 million and will spend an additional $10 million in renovations. // Courtesy of Comus Consulting/MI-HQ
MI-HQ has purchased Eastern Michigan University’s former College of Business headquarters, the Gary Owens Building in downtown Ypsilanti, for $2.6 million and will spend an additional $10 million in renovations. // Courtesy of Comus Consulting/MI-HQ

Ann Arbor-based Michigan Innovation Headquarters (MI-HQ), a developer of life science and technology workspaces, has purchased Eastern Michigan University’s former College of Business headquarters, the Gary Owens Building in downtown Ypsilanti, for $2.6 million.

The building will undergo an additional $10 million renovation to build a shared workspace for STEM companies. The 130,000-square-foot building will provide a functional space for entrepreneurs and scientists while supporting the growth of Ypsilanti. The space is estimated to open the first quarter of 2023 and will provide 300 new jobs to the city.

“These added innovators will bring additional foot traffic to the downtown core and businesses recovering from the lack of pedestrian traffic during COVID-19,” says Mark Smith, president of MI-HQ. “With abundant housing stock near the building, there is a great opportunity for workers to be able to locate and walk or bike to work.”

The renovation is planned to include the following features: free onsite parking, research and development wet labs, medical offices, a 160-seat auditorium available to both tenants and the public, a food truck pad, an exterior multipurpose courtyard for events and public gatherings, a café, and a gym available to both tenants and the public.

The building will be on the Ypsilanti tax rolls for the first time, providing significant additional revenue to the city. Ann Arbor SPARK estimates the space will provide more than $1.1 million of net benefits to the city of Ypsilanti in a 10-year span.

“The building is located in an opportunity zone, which provides tax advantages for companies and the investors that invest in them,” says Smith. “We hope to be a catalyst for the area and drive investment, development, and growth. By providing important infrastructure, oversight, investment, and collaboration, MI-HQ has seen the benefits of the community model at work.”

The acquisition was a collaboration between Ann Arbor SPARK, Eastern Michigan University, the city of Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County, and Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC).

This is MI-HQ’s fourth location and is one of three building acquisitions planned for 2022 and 2023. The new building is located at 300 W. Michigan Ave. which is a central point for tenants, offering easy airport and bus transportation options, as well as numerous local dining opportunities.

“MI-HQ prefers repurposing existing structures. Revitalizing vacant or orphaned buildings often has a positive impact on the area where they are located,” says Smith. “MI-HQ continues to expand and create hard to find ‘sticky infrastructure’ to attract and keep science and technology (STEM) outfits in the region. The expansion into Ypsilanti provides cost-effective space for continued growth of existing MI-HQ companies as well as opportunities for new members to join the MI-HQ community.”

MI-HQ is accepting new tenant applications in preparation for the 2023 opening date. Half of the new building is already spoken for by a primary anchor business.

To learn more, visit mi-hq.com.

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