A downtown Flint hotel received a nearly $8 million grant from the state to help with renovations.
The 11-story former Genesee Bank building on S. Saginaw Street is undergoing a $38 million facelift. It is being converted into the new Hilton Buckham Square Hotel featuring 101 rooms, a restaurant and a banquet center.
It is also expected to create 75 new jobs.
The property has been vacant for more than 20 years and will require heavy demolition and rehabilitation, but its arrival is highly anticipated by local businesses.
“I think every place down here is going to benefit from more foot traffic, more people,” said Jason Hester, owner of Blackstones.
Hester said the news isn’t just great for business, but for the city as well. He said it will only encourage people to invest in both downtown and Flint.
“It’s only going to drive people that actually live in the suburbs that don’t necessarily need to stay in a hotel, that they’ll come downtown and understand that it’s safe and it’s vital and there’s a lot of stuff going on down here,” Hester said.
Meanwhile, right next to the building is Churchill’s. The staff there has known about the development for more than a year. They said they couldn’t wait for the news to be announced.
“It’s been a slow process, but they’re actually starting to break a little ground now in the back alley and we’re excited,” said Tyler Hardisty, executive chef at Churchill’s.
Hardisty said he even approached Hilton’s developers on sharing an opening.
“From what we’ve talked to them so far, I don’t think there is going to be one. I know that they are going to have a restaurant downstairs and possibly something upstairs on the rooftop, but if they’re open to it we would love to have an opening,” Hardisty said.
A completion date has not yet been announced.
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