In 2017, the Chamber Support Corporation purchased the Owosso Armory from the Michigan Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, with the intent of bringing the historic community asset back to useful life. The goal was to provide much needed public restrooms, community space, leasable offices, and business incubation. The Armory had been abandoned in 2008, when the Michigan National Guard vacated it for a new facility.
The project developer was not allowed to perform any exploratory demolition until the purchase was complete. The plans and specifications for the original construction indicated brick throughout the structure, but when demolition took place, it became apparent that there must have been a shortage of proper construction materials when the building was erected. Instead of brick, a hollow clay tile referred to as “pyro-brick” was used in conjunction with the brick, often side by side. This “pyro-brick” is not consistent with today's building standards, and significant extra expense was incurred to pour new footings and add structural steel into the building to replace the unsafe existing sub-frame.
Chamber President/CEO Jeff Deason stated, “Nobody was aware of the inconsistency between the construction materials and the original blueprints prior to the project beginning. We were well into the project when the building’s instability was discovered. This unforeseen circumstance, excess time, and expense, had a cascading effect on the financial package for the project and we are thankful that State Representative Frederick led the effort to educate and advocate making us whole on the additional expense.”
“When my office was made aware of the unanticipated costs incurred due to inaccurate state-provided blueprints, I certainly felt this needed to be made right,” said Frederick. “Meetings began this past spring and culminated in this much needed appropriation last month. Our community continues to celebrate this visual success in downtown Owosso and this funding secures this project as a landmark for decades to come.”
There are still a limited number of business spaces at The Armory. For leasing information, persons may contact Woodworth Commercial at 989.723.3711.