Last June, barber Ken Bennett retired and closed the Hair Shed at 70 East Michigan in Battle Creek, and sold the building.   The future of the historic building is coming more into focus, as the new owners have received a grant to move forward with their plans.

LKV Ventures has been awarded a $240,508 grant from Battle Creek Unlimited through the downtown Real Estate Improvement Fund. This fund was made possible by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation aimed at addressing significant hurdles faced by those wanting to invest in downtown by focusing on revitalizing vacant space, improving code compliance, structural and mechanical issues, and other upgrades.

LKV Ventures intends to use the grant funds for the renovation of their recently purchased property located at 70 E. Michigan Ave. Plans for the project call for white-boxing the first floor to make room for future commercial tenants. The second and third floors will house two one-bedroom apartments and a single two-bedroom apartment, respectively.

One code compliance issue is adding the required sprinkler system for a building that is adapted to house living space.  That involves installing a more substantial connection to the city water service line, and could mean temporarily tearing up the new sidewalk put in by the city in front of the building a few years ago.

“We are so incredibly thankful to have the support of BCU, WKKF, and the City of Battle Creek” said Sarah Versical, director of project development for LKV Ventures. “Without the Downtown Real Estate Improvement Fund Grant, the complete renovation of the historic 70 E Michigan building would not have been possible. This funding allows us to keep a piece of Battle Creek history and give this building the necessary updates to make it a safe and desirable home for the next generation of downtown Battle Creek businesses and residents."

“The revitalization of this property will give a nod to its rich 111-year old history and provide some much-needed housing options downtown,” said Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited. “When we talk about creating a vibrant and thriving downtown, not only do we need jobs, dining, and retail, but a key component is housing. This will drive foot traffic to the eateries and stores, thus supporting the whole downtown ecosystem.”

LKV Ventures, LLC, is a management and development company based in Battle Creek, Michigan. It is anticipated the project will be completed in less than 12 months.