Pontiac renaissance is in the works

Pontiac no longer needs emergency manager, governor says; businesses eye opportunity

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

PONTIAC, Mich. - It's official: no more financial emergency in Pontiac.

Emergency Manager Lou Schimmel is moving out after cutting $80 million in debt and streamlining city services, and the cool kids are moving in.

Pontiac is being marketed as the new mecca for the creative class. Bob Waun and his partners have already bought multiple buildings in downtown Pontiac and renovations are under way.

Their first building on Saginaw boasts several floors of atypical office space with a wine cellar, upscale wine shop and an outstanding bakery on the lower level.

"We think it was the original place to live in the area and we think it's the place a lot of people are going to move back to once they come here and experience what we've already found in the last year," Waun said.

Read: Gov. Snyder: Pontiac financial emergency is ending

He and his partners see a major renaissance in Pontiac's future and they're putting their money where their mouths are. They've bought multiple buildings and have plans for more office space, along with upscale residential, restaurants and a live/work area for artists. None of which they would have considered if an emergency manager hadn't been appointed to clean up the financial mess.

"It made a big difference in my personal decision as well as our partners who weighed the fact that the town had good fiscal governance and it was clear it was moving in a sound financial direction," Waun said.

Already they've got tenants lined up to move into the buildings that are renovated and others that are in process.

Waun says others can see the vision.

"One person can't change a town, 10 people can't change a town but a community coming together can change a place and the world."

Copyright 2013 by ClickOnDetroit.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.