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MI-HQ Acquires Eastern Michigan University College of Business Building

Rendering of the MI-HQ Ypsilanti Building Exterior

The revitalized building will create a life science and technology hub in downtown Ypsilanti, complete with medical offices, multiple dining options, and state-of-the-art wet lab spaces.

Michigan Innovation Headquarters (MI-HQ)—a leader in developing innovative life science and technology workspaces—has entered a purchase agreement for Eastern Michigan University’s former College of Business headquarters, the Gary Owens Building, in downtown Ypsilanti. The building will be purchased for $2.6 million and will undergo an additional $10 million renovation to build an innovative shared workspace for STEM companies.

Rendering of the MI-HQ Ypsilanti Building Exterior
Rendering of the MI-HQ Ypsilanti Building Exterior
Rendering of planned MI-HQ wet labs in Ypsilanti

MI-HQ plans to fully renovate the 130,000 sq. ft building to provide a functional space for entrepreneurs and scientists while supporting the growth of Ypsilanti. The space is estimated to open in the first quarter of 2023 and will provide 300 new jobs to the city.

“These added innovators will bring additional foot traffic to the downtown core and businesses recovering from the lack of pedestrian traffic during COVID,” said Mark Smith, president of MI-HQ. “With abundant housing stock near the building, there is a great opportunity for workers to be able to locate and walk or bike to work.”

The building will be on the Ypsilanti Tax Rolls for the first time, providing significant additional revenue to the city. Ann Arbor SPARK estimated the space will provide over $1.1 million of net benefits to the City of Ypsilanti in a 10-year span.

“The building is located in an Opportunity Zone which provides tax advantages for companies and the investors that invest in them,” said Smith. “We hope to be a catalyst for the area and drive investment, development, and growth. By providing important infrastructure, oversight, investment, and collaboration, MI-HQ has seen the benefits of the community model at work.”

The building acquisition was a collaboration between Ann Arbor SPARK, Eastern Michigan University, the City of Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

MI-HQ will renovate the space into an attractive, modern workspace to include the following features:

  • Free onsite parking
  • Research and development wet labs
  • Medical offices
  • A 160-seat auditorium, available to both tenants and the public
  • Food truck pad
  • Exterior multipurpose courtyard for events and public gatherings
  • Cafe
  • Gym, available to both tenants and the public

This is MI-HQ’s fourth location and is one of three building acquisitions planned for 2022 and 2023. The new building is located at 300 W. Michigan Ave. which is a central point for tenants, offering easy airport and bus transportation options, as well as numerous local dining opportunities.

“MI-HQ prefers repurposing existing structures. Revitalizing vacant or orphaned buildings often has a positive impact on the area where they are located,” said Smith. “MI-HQ continues to expand and create hard-to-find ‘sticky infrastructure’ to attract and keep science and technology (STEM) outfits in the region. The expansion into Ypsilanti provides cost-effective space for the continued growth of existing MI-HQ companies as well as opportunities for new members to join the MI-HQ community.”

MI-HQ is accepting new tenant applications in preparation for the 2023 opening date. Half of the new building is already spoken for by a primary anchor business.

About Michigan Innovation Headquarters

MI-HQ is a high-energy, cooperative entrepreneurial community. They help local companies grow by providing functional, affordable space in a collaborative environment that fosters acceleration. They currently have 160,000+ square feet of space on Ann Arbor’s west side and are expanding throughout Michigan. To learn more about MI-HQ, visit mi-hq.com