ROWE Building Renovation Completed

Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce photo

(FLINT, MICHIGAN, January 26, 2010) The revitalization of Downtown Flint has experienced another key milestone with the completion of the $22.7 million ROWE Building project.

Business and community leaders gathered to celebrate the formal dedication and take a tour of the newly renovated building during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning. The ROWE Building project, which included the renovation of three buildings in the 500 block of South Saginaw Street, began in 2005 when ROWE Professional Services Company signed a 10-year lease and committed to moving its company headquarters to Downtown Flint.

Now, the 83,000-square-foot building—which sits in the heart of the downtown business district—houses nearly 100 ROWE Professional Services employees and 14 residential tenants in eight loft apartments. Negotiations also are underway with prospects who have expressed interest in opening a couple of restaurants in the lower portion of the building.

“This is an exciting day for Downtown Flint and Genesee County,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce and president of Uptown Reinvestment Corporation (URC). “With this building dedication, we mark another significant milestone in the redevelopment of Downtown Flint. The ROWE Building project is testimony to what is possible when private, public, and non-profit partners work together toward a common goal.

“The success demonstrated by the ROWE Building project—along with the overall effort to redevelop Downtown Flint—speaks to the dedication of a community-minded group of individuals who have made a long-term commitment to the future of Flint and Genesee County,” he said. “I am proud of the hard work that this group has done over the past several years to help jumpstart positive growth in our downtown.”

During Tuesday's ceremony, Tim Herman thanked partners from ROWE Professional Services Company, the URC, Uptown Developments, the C.S. Mott Foundation, the Ruth Mott Foundation, the City of Flint, Genesee County, the Michigan MagnetFund, and Regional Chamber staff for their work in helping to make the ROWE Building project and the revitalization of Downtown Flint a reality.

"A special thanks is owed to Sorensen Gross, who labored through a challenging project and extremely difficult building conditions,” said Scott Whipple, development and project manager for Uptown Developments. “We also thank ROWE for their patience and not abandoning us or the project.  And we thank the Mott Foundation, US Bank, LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), the City of Flint, HUD, and the State of Michigan for providing us with the critical additional financial support, which allowed us to refinance and complete the project."

John D. Matonich, ROWE’s president and chief executive officer, said he and his company have been honored to be a part of the downtown revitalization effort.

“In 2004/2005, ROWE Professional Services Company was evaluating relocation to a newer and bigger facility that would allow the company to grow and expand. At the same time we had the opportunity to become involved in the revitalization of Downtown Flint, and this project was created satisfying both parameters,” Matonich said. “ROWE is very pleased that we have the opportunity to participate in the rebirth and redevelopment of Downtown Flint, as we view this as a good thing for the entire region.

Construction on the project began in 2006, but suffered a setback when the building experienced a partial collapse in August 2007. Nevertheless, Matonich said his commitment—and the group's commitment—to the project never wavered.

“While the partial collapse of the building was a definite setback and very frustrating, we had every confidence that the project architect, THA Architects Engineers, and the project structural design engineer, Lopez Engineering, would quickly identify a solution and get the project back on track,” Matonich said. “ROWE never lost its enthusiasm for seeing this project completed. It provided us with the opportunity to get our staff in our new facility in Downtown Flint.”

The ROWE Building project is significant in and of itself. But beyond the project itself—the ROWE Building and the commitment that ROWE Professional Services Company demonstrated by committing to move its headquarters to Downtown Flint—served as the catalyst for the overall downtown revitalization effort, Tim Herman said.

“It was ROWE's strong commitment to this project that helped encourage other investors to join in the effort to make Downtown Flint a more vibrant place to live, work, and do business,” he said.

There is an exciting resurgence of activity now that more people are living and working in the downtown area. And the migration of more people to the downtown area is having a significant impact on the local economy. More and more people are frequenting Downtown Flint restaurants and businesses during and after regular businesses hours.

“We have made great strides, and we look forward to making more good-news announcements about revitalization efforts in Downtown Flint in the coming weeks and months,” Tim Herman said.

ROWE Professional Services Company is a local consulting firm that provides engineering, land and aerial surveying, planning, landscape architecture and wetland consultation to businesses and municipalities nationwide. The American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan named ROWE“Firm of the Year” in 2001 and 2004.

For more information, please contact:

Jenny Cromie Director of Communication and Media Relations Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce (810) 600-1435

Scott Whipple Development and Project Manager Uptown Developments (810) 238-5555