Mahler gives optimistic outlook on local economic development activity

The economic development director for the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce and Target Alpena provided the Alpena City Council this week, with an enthusiastic semi-annual report on development activity in the city and the surrounding area.

Mike Mahler said developer activity “has really accelerated locally.”

Propane Plus has purchased two lots on Commerce Drive and two more on Target Drive, off Commerce. Mahler said the company plans to build a new facility for a new business on two of the lots. He said a developer for the US Fish and Wildlife Service has an option to purchase two other lots off commerce drive. The agency is also considering the city’s US-23 property.

Mahler said there is a local and downstate developer interested in the former Alpena Power Company property in downtown. He is working with a state agency to also develop a complete marketing and demographic informational package for that property.

Mahler continues to work with a developer who wants to construct two new businesses on the vacant parcel between Culver’s and the Meijer gas station. An announcement to unveil the names of those businesses could come yet this summer. Mahler said he is aware of various other projects that are in the early exploration stages, from new subdivisions outside the city limits, to new businesses and a second hotel for downtown.

Mahler noted that the real estate market in northeast Michigan is stronger today than any time he has seen since moving here in 1997. He is also encouraged by the vibrancy of downtown, including more traffic then he has ever seen.

The city currently gives Target $40,000 annually for economic development activities. The agreement requires Target to provide the city with semi-annual and annual reports on economic development activity.