Plans are moving forward for the redevelopment of a historic building in downtown Howell.

Records indicate the building, which was home to Howell Auto Parts until 1962, was originally built in 1900. It served as an Advance Auto Parts store until last April when it closed. Located between Grand River and Sibley Street, owners Jeff and Colleen Doyle are now referring to it as “The Pearl Building”, noting its decorative features that are reminiscent of the 1920s’. The owners are proposing to completely renovate the building.

The first floor would be prepared for future retail or restaurant use, and the second floor for four apartment units. A small amount of “third floor” space would be added on the roof of the building with a rooftop deck as part of the front apartment unit. There are also plans to construct a new building along Sibley Street that would house garage space on the first floor and a single accessory dwelling unit on the second.

Mayor Nick Proctor calls it “fantastic stuff”. Community Development Director Tim Schmitt says it’s a classic type of project perfect for downtown and one that area doesn’t get too often. The building’s site plan was brought before the city’s Planning Commission Wednesday night and received unanimous approval. Schmitt says the applicants are working on developing their financing package and he believes the project will qualify for some state programs. (DK)