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Estimated $6.5 Billion Regional Construction Projects Said on Fast Track

Real Estate, Retail Restructuring Underway in Local Area

January 17, 2009       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Construction industry sources say workers have been notified to get lunch buckets ready, that more work is on the way.

More than $6 billion in regional construction projects are said to be on the fast track, moved by concerns over the lagging economy and the need for an infusion of capital and jobs.

Construction industry sources say workers have been notified to get lunch buckets ready, that more work is on the way.

And, while some retail and real estate are finding tough times, entrepreneurial investors are eagerly preparing for the reincarnation of the economy.

Projects said to be on the front burner include:

  • The $2.3 billion Consumers Energy Karn-Weadock plant addition in Essexville;

  • An estimated $3 billion in new construction at the Hemlock Semiconductor plant of the Dow Corning Corp.; and

  • A $1.2 billion Wolverine Power Cooperative plant in Rogers City.

    "Some of our guys are already working in Rogers City and there are people doing preparatory work at Karn-Weadock," said the source. "And, we hear that Hemlock is a go and will be breaking ground soon."

    Boilermakers and welders have been doing maintenance work at the Consumers plant at the mouth of the Saginaw River, and a $22 million seawall will be built, and other trades expect to get work there if and when the project is approved.

    "From what we hear the paperwork is in the final stages and then the project will be going ahead," said the industry source.

    Statements that Gov. Jennifer Granholm might stop projects have been dismissed by some sources, saying that environmentalist obstructionism is being outweighed by economic concerns.

    Meanwhile, as institutions struggle to maintain viability, the following developments have been reported:

    The YWCA of Bay County is "restructuring" and is ending some services; some 45 full and part-time employees have been laid off; "the YWCA will continue to exist in Bay County, but not in this building," said board chair Laurie Bush; (Flint and Lansing YWCAs also reportedly have closed);

    The Bay City Country Club is reportedly in foreclosure of a $3 million debt and is slated for the auction block Feb. 13;

    Bay Valley Resort is also in foreclosure and its fate remains uncertain;

    Ruby Tuesday on State Street Road near Wal-Mart has closed its doors;

    Goodrich Theaters at the Hampton Square Mall is closed and the building, valued at more than $1 million, will be given to any nonprofit group that will take it; property taxes on the theater are about $27,000 a year, and

    Circuit City, that has an outlet in Saginaw, has announced it is closing all stores.

    There are signs that the restructuring of the local economy is actively underway, such as:

    The popular Rudy J's diner is moving from its own building on Broadway to the Quality Inn which had suspended meals some weeks ago.

    The Bay City Elks Club has taken first steps to move from rented quarters at Fifth and Washington to Lumber Barons on Midland Street;

    Bay County, rare among governments for its strong fiscal condition, last week bolstered its bank account by selling an entire block on Madison Avenue for $439,000 to the Bay Arenac Mental Health Agency.

    One of only two bread and breakfast operations in Bay City is reportedly being acquired and will be renovated and operated by a local entrepreneur;

    As real estate hits rock bottom, deals are beginning to percolate, envisioned by investors grabbing bargains with confidence the economy will be revitalized within the year, or next year at the latest.

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    Dave Rogers

    Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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