As CEO of the Fint & Genesee Group, I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you in each issue of AND magazine. This issue in particular – focused on housing challenges and solutions – gives me a unique opportunity to speak from another perspective. Because in addition to my role as CEO of the Group, I also serve as president of Uptown Reinvestment Corporation.

Tim Herman
Flint & Genesee Group CEO Tim Herman

Uptown Reinvestment Corporation, or URC, began as a partnership between the Genesee Area Focus Council and the Flint Downtown Development Authority. Today, it stands as an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization, with a mission to promote economic development and mixed-income housing in the downtown Flint business district.

Working alongside government, education, business, and charitable institutions, URC strives to support existing and new business development; enhance public infrastructure and improve aesthetics; increase downtown residency; and develop the downtown into an attractive area for entrepreneurial growth, employment, and entertainment.

It all began with a forgivable loan from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the expertise of local private developers in 2001. Since then, $335 million has been invested by a variety of funders, resulting in the creation of 1,401,641 square feet, 1,148 units of new housing, and 29 newly constructed or rehabilitated buildings.

The projects that have contributed to these statistics are possible because of local and statewide partnerships. Now, as URC and our partners consider the housing crisis facing Genesee County, I am proud of the projects in the works that will support the Downtown Flint Gameplan and add mixed-income housing to the downtown district.

For example, a $41-million, mixed-use development in downtown Flint will soon be home to the new YMCA of Greater Flint, 50 mixed-income apartments (including 19 affordable units), physical therapy space, and nonprofit offices on Harrison Street. This partnership between URC and the YMCA was made possible with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the MEDC, and Kyle Kuzma, a Flint native and player for the Washington Wizards, among other sources.

In addition, historic properties in the Carriage Town neighborhood have been rehabilitated to build upon ongoing investments and increase neighborhood occupancy. Six single-family and duplex-style homes were recently built with funding from URC, Michigan Community Capital, and the City of Flint.

Beyond development, URC is also the leasing manager for seven properties that offer 65 apartments in Flint’s downtown district. Throughout the year, occupancy rates average around low- to mid-90% with some apartments being leased almost immediately as they become available.

Just like the successes of the Flint & Genesee Group, the accomplishments of Uptown Reinvestment Corporation are only possible through shared vision and collaboration. I am grateful to serve both organizations, and even more grateful to do this work in a community filled with people and organizations focused on making a positive difference.