The cities of Chisholm, Hibbing and Virginia last week were awarded $586,030 in Commercial Redevelopment grants by Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation (IRRR).
The agency invests approximately $1 million annually into the grant program across its 13,000 square-mile service area. The grants assist with the internal and external demolition of commercial and industrial buildings and clean-up of brownfields to pave the way for new development.
“Our local downtowns are vital to the Iron Range communities and impact both our economy and quality of life. We rely on them as places we do business and where we engage in cultural and social events,” said Commissioner Ida Rukavina, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation. “We were very pleased to support these three communities as they work to further revitalize their downtowns.”
The recent grants include $120,000 for Chisholm to redevelop a vacant downtown property on Lake Street into a new business that operates as a gallery on the main floor and a rentable tenant space on the second floor. The building’s interior must be completely refitted with new code compliant electrical, plumbing, heating and safety features. Total project investment is estimated at $441,575.
“This is a great opportunity for the city of Chisholm to have a downtown building breathe new life. I am excited to welcome the new owners,” Chisholm Mayor Adam Lantz said. “I am thankful to Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation and am thrilled to see the impact the commercial redevelopment grant will have on our community.”
Hibbing will be receiving three grants. $200,000 will be pushed to redevelop a building adjacent to Sammy’s Pizza on Howard Street. The owners of Sammy’s purchased the building and will expand their operation into the space once it is renovated. Total project investment is estimated at $2,216,736.
$67,850 is set to help redevelop a four-level building into short-term rentals and a food and entertainment establishment, The Iron House. Total project investment is estimated at $492,350.
$18,890 is slated to redevelop a building located on 4th Avenue East into a space that will be leased by The Hibbing Elks Lodge which operates a restaurant, bar and special event venue. Total project investment is estimated at $325,548.
“In our recent Strategic Planning and Visioning sessions, the Hibbing City Council and Administrative team determined that the viability of downtown Howard Street is a top priority for our community,” Hibbing Mayor Pete Hyduke said. “One of the main components is helping downtown business have access to funding to help make necessary improvements to their buildings. Whether it’s new businesses looking to locate in downtown Hibbing or existing businesses looking to expand these building improvements help to maintain our historic downtown and keep it vibrant for today and into the future.”
The City of Virginia will also be receiving three grants.
Virginia will receive $90,000 to perform emergency demolition on a commercial building owned by Pohaki Lumber who intends to reconstruct it as a multi-level commercial space with tenants. Total project investment is estimated at $297,355.
$84,250 is slated to redevelop a building (formerly Goodwill) adjacent to Northeast Technical Services, Inc. (NTS) on Chestnut Street. The owners of NTS purchased the building and will expand their office and lab operations into the space once it is renovated. Total project investment is estimated at $1,700,000.
An additional $5,040 will go to renovate interior portions of F&D Meats to allow for installation of new coolers and freezers. F&D is located in a 50-year-old building and has been operating in Virginia for more than 40 years providing fresh cut meats and groceries. The meat shop was recently purchased by new owners who have invested in the building to elevate the customer experience. Total project investment is estimated at $93,099.
“The recent grants will increase commercial development, expand downtown business renovation, revitalize the local neighborhoods and eliminate blighted properties,” Virginia Mayor Larry Cuffe, Jr. said. “Without the strong community commitment and ongoing partnership funding by Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation, these projects and many others would not have been possible. The agency is an important economic driver for the Iron Range.”
According to IRRR, several of the businesses applied for Business Energy Retrofit (BER) and Downtown Building Rehabilitation (DBR) grants for energy efficiency and code-compliant upgrades to their buildings. BER and DBR grants are awarded directly to small business owners and can assist with projects related to HVAC, electrical, plumbing, lighting, appliances, windows, doors, storefronts, ADA compliancy, lead and asbestos removal and fire suppressions systems. Both programs are funded by Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation and administered through a partnership with Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA).