FLINT, MI. Following a Student Housing Market and Demand Analysis by The Scion Group, the nonprofit Uptown Reinvestment Corporation (URC) has purchased the Character Inn in downtown Flint, Michigan for conversion to up to 550 beds of student housing for students of the University of Michigan-Flint (UM-Flint). The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which commissioned Scion’s work, provided a $20 million repayable grant to URC for the first phase of the project.
Scion’s study, performed in November 2008, included surveys, focus groups, interviews with stakeholders and tours of existing UM-Flint student housing and the Character Inn. Scion projected current unmet demand for 474 beds and total demand for up to 970 beds by the 2013 academic year. Based on these projections, URC plans to use the Mott Foundation grant to acquire the 16-story, former 372-room hotel and complete a first phase conversion of the fifth through eighth floors to 250 beds of suite-style student housing. The first phase, which includes updating the entire building, is targeted for completion in Fall 2009. Two future phases could bring the total to 550 beds, in addition to classrooms, entertainment amenities and meeting space.
“Observing the developments that result from our work has always been a great source of pride for us, but it is especially gratifying to have participated in the analysis for the Character Inn project,” said Jason Taylor, Scion’s Managing Director of Consulting Services and Flint, MI native. “Having grown up here and taken courses at UM-Flint when I was in high school, I feel a personal stake in the success of this project and its contribution to the continued revitalization of downtown Flint.”
During the past six years, Scion’s clients have undertaken almost $2 billion of student housing development in direct reliance on Scion’s work. The Character Inn redevelopment joins Scion-advised projects currently in planning or construction at Colorado State University-Pueblo, Fort Lewis College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Louisville, Marquette University and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
The Uptown Reinvestment Corporation was formed as a nonprofit to strategically target areas in downtown Flint for redevelopment. It acquires vacant and inactive buildings and redevelops them into mixed-use buildings, using public private partnerships and other innovative development tools.
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, established in Flint in 1926 by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the U.S., as well as internationally, in the areas of Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty. It has offices in Flint, metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg (South Africa) and London. The Foundation, with year-end assets of approximately $2.7 billion, made 527 grants totaling almost $109 million in 2007.