Michigan Tech, SmartZone Receive $3 Million Federal Grant to Renovate UPPCO Building

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Michigan Technological University and the Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation (MTEC) SmartZone will receive a federal Economic Development Administration business incubator grant of $3,020,000 for renovations and “greening” of the former UPPCO Building in downtown Houghton, Mich. Michigan Tech purchased the building in July.

MTEC, a private, nonprofit corporation, manages the SmartZone, an economic development and high-tech business incubator serving Houghton and Hancock. The University and MTEC were co-applicants for the federal grant.

“This grant sends a clear message, that the federal government knows that Michigan Tech and Houghton have an excellent track record and enormous potential for creating new, high-tech jobs,” said Michigan Tech President Glenn D. Mroz.

Engineering and design work for the renovation is already under way. Renovations, including retrofitting to meet LEED certification requirements as an environmentally sustainable building, will begin during the first quarter of 2009. Work is expected to be completed by mid-2009.

According to US Rep. Bart Stupak, the federal investment is expected to create hundreds of new jobs and leverage millions of dollars in private investment in the Houghton area.

The MTEC SmartZone will lease long-term space in the former UPPCO Building. Other tenants will include high-tech and start-up businesses. Occupants already include Ford Motor Company’s IT Development Center; Gundlach Champion, a large Midwest construction firm; Payne & Dolan, Inc., an asphalt production and construction company; G&J Silt Fencing; and Weston Solutions, a sustainable redevelopment firm. The US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance also lease space in the building.

“This community has really come together to support the growth of technology business in our area,” said Carlton Crothers, CEO of the MTEC SmartZone. “This is our community’s fourth facility project—our next technology incubator/innovation center—and because of the success we are showing with our early efforts, we have been awarded multiple grants which to fund this multi-million dollar project.”

Michigan Tech has been working hand in hand with the MTEC SmartZone since the business incubator’s establishment in 2002.

Michigan Technological University is a leading public research university, conducting research, developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, forestry and environmental sciences, computing, technology, business and economics, natural and physical sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.