U of M Flint moving forward with plans to purchase building - WNEM TV 5

U of M Flint moving forward with plans to purchase building

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

A university is making a $6 million investment in expanding its Mid-Michigan campus.

University of Michigan announced it's moving forward with plans to purchase the First Merit North building, right across the street from its downtown campus.

 “I think it's another step toward flint becoming a college town,” said U of M Flint Chancellor Sue Borrego.

The 160,000 square foot building will be purchased for $6 million.

“Space has been bottle necked on campus for several years so it's a great opportunity for us today,” Borrego said.

It will be used for both academic and administrative purposes.

“There will be some things that need to happen for it: accessibility issues, separation of utilities. But nothing that has raised any red flags for us,” Borrego said.

Michael Behm from U of M's board of regents said the building’s proximity was a plus.

“I thought it was a fantastic idea because so many times when campus and be contagious and close, it’s such a huge bonus,” Behm said.

The university said this purchase and its partnership with First Merit Corporation was a perfect opportunity.

“If we were going to build this building it would be several years and at least $60 million. We don't have that kind of resource or time,” Borrego said.

Currently, First Merit's north tower is not filled to capacity.

Employees working in the north tower will relocate into new space, in First Merit’s south and west towers, according to Sandy Pierce.

“In the south and west tower, First Merit is going to completely renovate those two towers,” Pierce said.

A step in a positive direction for a city that's many faced hard times.

“The way this community has come together to bring it back first to life and then to thrive again, I think is so fabulous for us to be a part of it,” Pierce said.

For those who may be concerned...flint's downtown weatherball is on the south tower, and it is not going anywhere.

Pierce said no employees will be losing their jobs during the transition.

A final deal could be made as soon as March 2016.

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