LAPEER, MI-The city will receive two state grants to renovate six Downtown multifamily rental units and create a new center for the arts next to the Pix Theater. Lapeer, which received a total of $557,900, was the only community to receive two of 10 Michigan Economic Development and Michigan State Housing Development Authority grants.

The Lapeer grants will allow officials to convert the former Lyons & Smith clothing store at Nepessing and Court streets into an art center that would include three studio apartments for artists, says Sara Coulter, Lapeer’s housing administrator. The 8,000 sf building now houses the Pix Arts Council and the Lapeer Abstract and Title Co. The upgrades would be funded through a $375,000 grant from the state, Coulter adds.

The title company is expected to relocate to another Downtown building once renovations begin, Coulter says. Renovations of the basement of the building would provide a place for classes and art meetings, she adds. Coulter notes the building has open space, high ceilings and display cases, which makes it ideal as a center where artists can work on and display their works.

Another grant for $182,900 will turn six Downtown apartments that have been vacant for at least 10 years into rentable living spaces, says Diane Larkin, the city’s housing technician. The apartments, located above Downtown businesses, have fallen into disrepair and need repairs to ceilings, walls and floors, plus new utilities. Under terms of the grants, half of the apartments must be rented to low- or moderate-income tenants, Larkin says.

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