More Than “Just Baseball”
Dow Diamond’s Economic Impact on Downtown Midland
Out of all of the potential sites in Midland, the Michigan Baseball Foundation selected downtown as the premier location for Dow Diamond and the Great Lakes Loons. Leaders could have easily located the multi-million dollar stadium on the outskirts of town or off of I-75, but they didn’t. Instead, the stadium was placed strategically at the east end of Midland’s Downtown District.
So…why downtown Midland?
Over a period of years, downtown Midland faced a trend of disinvestment. This disinvestment was in large part due to changing consumer preferences. National retailers were vacating their shops on Main Streets and trading them for rental spaces inside of local malls, workplaces were largely being built in office-parks, and local restaurants were relocating to food courts or being replaced by chains.
Throughout the years, community leaders and organizations worked to combat the disinvestment by investing in the H Hotel, developing Riverside Place — downtown’s senior living facility, and renovating the streetscape. In similar fashion, community members and corporate leaders worked to create Dow Diamond. These individuals knew that this investment was about more than “just baseball.” It was about leveraging professional sports to drive, encourage, and promote economic growth throughout the entire downtown district.
To date, Dow Diamond has accomplished just that. It has served as the spark that ignited a series of incremental investments — one after the other. When the timeline of investments is broken down for the east end of Main Street, it looks something like this:
- Dow Diamond opens in Downtown Midland
- Dow Diamond becomes a regional tourist attraction that brings thousands of guests into Midland’s Downtown District.
2. East End Office Space is created
- The close proximity to Dow Diamond and Downtown Midland make the site of the current East End building prime for investment.
- Developers create a mixed-use retail & office space that provides work environments for hundreds of new downtown employees.
3. Six New Restaurants open up on State, Townsend & Cronkright Streets
- Due to the increased number of workers in downtown, demand for additional lunch venues increased.
- Within one block away of the new office building, six new dining places are opened by aspiring restaurateurs (i.e. Rancheros, Good To Go, Crepes Et Amis, State Street Cafe, Maru and Basil Thai).
4. Restoration of the South Riverfront (Former 4D Site)
- Due to increased pedestrian foot-traffic, demand for easier access to rail trails emerges
- The Michigan Baseball Foundation secured grant funds from local foundations to improve and link the south riverfront to The Tridge and to the east end of Main Street.
What’s next for downtown Midland?
As illustrated above, economic investments are like dominoes. Each project, initiative, or business builds upon one another. From the new streetscape investment, to the opening of Gratzi, to the courthouse improvements, to The West Entranceway Project — downtown is seeing another series of catalytic investments that will transform downtown similarly to the way Dow Diamond transformed the east end of Main Street.
It is Momentum Midland’s goal to keep attracting, incentivizing, and identifying potential catalytic opportunities for downtown Midland. It is also Momentum Midland’s goal to empower local citizens to play a role in the incremental development process. If you are interested in learning more about Incremental Development, then please consider attending the next Downtown Opportunity Summit on April 13. Click here for more information.
As always, let’s continue to work together to attract new incremental investment and to #KeepTheMomentumGoing in Downtown Midland.