Landline Creative Labs Triggers Ypsilanti Revival

More than half a million dollars will be invested in the mixed-use project, which was years in the making and is aimed at attracting innovative and creative companies.

By Alexandra Pacurar

The Former Michigan Bell Telephone Building in Ypsilanti
The Former Michigan Bell Telephone Building in Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti, Mich.Ann Arbor SPARK announced it will support Landline Creative Labs’ Development in downtown Ypsilanti through its Innovate Ypsi incentive program. The non-profit organization allocated a $56,000 grant to the transformation of the former Michigan Bell Telephone building into a mixed-use development and helped the company secure a tax incentive from the city of Ypsilanti. The new center will feature office spaces for creative professionals, as well as a restaurant.

“We anticipate that, by early fall, Landline Creative Labs will be a vibrant center for our region’s growing creative community, in which the daily interaction between graphic designers, filmmakers, photographers, illustrators and other creative professionals begins to manifest in interesting ways that we can’t even begin to imagine,” Mark Maynard, co-founder of Landline Creative Labs, said in a prepared statement.

The building at 209 Pearl St., built almost a century ago, had been vacant since 2014 when the interior burned in a fire. Frank D’s barbershop is the only business that is still operating in the lower level of the building and it will be maintained once the rest of the property is leased.

Landline Creative Labs, cofounded by Maynard and Jesse Kranyak, will invest more than $650,000 in the project, which, they believe, will contribute to the rebirth of the township as a hub for creativity. The new office will be the home of 10 of the area’s most innovative companies that interact directly with their clients.

“Ypsilanti is such an integral part of our region, and being part of its growth and economic evolution is an important part of SPARK’s work. We hope that technology companies considering new locations and expansions will take a second look at downtown Ypsilanti and make an investment in a growing key node of our area of innovation well positioned adjacent to the American Center for Mobility project,” said Paul Krutko, president & CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK.

Ann Arbor SPARK is an organization based on a public-private partnership which supports high-tech and innovative businesses in the Ann Arbor region.

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