A complete overhaul of downtown Battle Creek's tallest building continues and it is on schedule to reopen in the spring of 2019. When the nearly $30 million project to restore the Heritage Tower is completed, it will provide housing, jobs and retail in downtown Battle Creek. Work on restoring the skyscraper began in May of 2017. Renovation crews are expected to move into the second phase of the project by fall. Interior construction is scheduled to begin in September.

Developer Mark Harmsen shared updates on the progress of the Heritage Tower revitalization project Tuesday calling it an important economic milestone in downtown Battle Creek. He says 85 apartments will be available for rent on the upper floors, with retail and restaurant space on the first two floors.

"A revitalized Heritage Tower will bring new residents, new jobs and new opportunities to live, work and play in Battle Creek,”   “This $28 million investment in the Heritage Tower, once completed, could create 125 new jobs in addition to numerous tax revenues, and offers a major boost toward a thriving downtown.”  - Joel Wittenberg, WKKF vice president and chief investment officer.

Two firms have also been identified including Detroit’s GWJ Group to partner with the city on downtown development support and nationally-renowned HR&A Advisors to work with public, business, civic and community leaders on a broad economic development strategy for Battle Creek.

Heritage Tower construction in 1931 (Courtesy Kurt Thornton)

The the 19-story, 239 foot tall Heritage Tower, which opened to the public in 1931 as Merchants National Bank and Trust Co. Tower, sat vacant for over a decade before the restoration work started. For some time, the future of the historic structure was uncertain. In 2007, it was listed for sale on eBay before being sold in 2008 for $750,000 to Florida-based Random Acquisitions. By the end of 2010, the building was almost completed vacant and many areas of it had been condemned. Discussion and plans to restore the building gained momentum with various announcements between 2013 and 2015.

 

BONUS VIDEO: Crews Repelling Battle Creek's Heritage Tower