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Commercial Redevelopment grant helps develop commercial lease space in Grand Marais

Feb 26, 2024 10:27AM ● By Content Editor

Photo: IRRR

From the Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation - February 26, 2024

Cook County Real Estate Investment Fund (CCREIF) purchased a vacant 6,384-square-foot building in downtown Grand Marais and transformed it into a multi-tenant commercial lease facility with two retail and seven office spaces. Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation supported the project with a $46,300 Commercial Redevelopment grant to the Cook County/Grand Marais Joint Economic Development Authority (EDA) for the internal demolition of the Birchbark Building. The total project investment was $965,000.

Interior demolition included the removal of lighting, suspended ceilings, insulation, support structures, and wall coverings. The owner also made exterior improvements to modernize the building and improve its aesthetics. Restrooms were added, and code compliance and energy efficiency improvements were made.

The Title Team and First & Second Thrift Store are the two retail tenants. Four of the seven office spaces are leased to Earth Body HealingCook County Local Energy ProjectNorth Shore Superior Pest ManagementMayhew Inn Storage, and Office Space. One office space is finalizing its lease, and two office spaces remain available for lease.

“This was a very good project, and we are grateful for support from Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation,” said Howard Hedstrom of CCREIF. “The project came in close to budget, and we’ve received rave reviews of the design and building's thoughtful reuse. We designed the building to be energy-efficient with LED lights, air source heat pumps, and high-efficiency windows. We’re thrilled to occupy a great spot in downtown Grand Marais for many years to come.”

Hedstrom is one of eight local community leaders that makes up CCREIF which is an investment fund that is focused on bringing development to Cook County through strategic real estate investments. The goal is to have their investments strengthen the tax base, promote employment, and provide goods and services to stimulate business activity across the county.

The building was originally a service garage in Grand Marais. It then changed ownership and housed a bookstore and gift shop for 26 years before closing in 2021.

“Taking an existing space and remodeling it is a challenging task that requires constant communication and coordination with multiple parties to determine code requirements and what can be reused versus what needs to be replaced or upgraded. It’s exciting to see tenants in place and this building once again operating in our downtown,” said Theresa Bajda, executive director of Cook County/Grand Marais Joint EDA. “This project is an incredible example of local investors working together in their community. We are very thankful for Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation’s support and partnership in Cook County.”

Bajda explained that the project qualified for $10,626 in rebates from Grand Marais Public Utilities due to CCREIF’s thoughtful design and the project’s reduction in annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Email Chris Ismil or call him at 218-735-3010 for more information about Commercial Redevelopment grants.

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