In December of 2018, Battle Creek Unlimited announced a request for proposals for their $200,000 Restaurant and Dining financial assistance incentive program. We talked with the expert team at Battle Creek Unlimited to find out more about this opportunity and what it means for Battle Creek.
What does bringing a new restaurant mean to our city?
“This RFP (request for proposals) – arriving on the heels of other exciting projects – is the next tile in our downtown mosaic. With other initiatives coming online, it’s important to keep momentum. To our city, a new restaurant will mean more dining options in an underserved market. This is designed to complement existing Battle Creek dining staples, while taking into account further demand from projects like Heritage Tower and others.”
What do you want people who live in Battle Creek to know about this opportunity?
“We recognize the need for a vibrant downtown. Battle Creek Unlimited’s resources are already being put to work. A key part of this RFP is making sure we attract restauranteurs who can fill in the gaps. This incentive was designed to bring new cuisine or other unique dining experiences not currently here. We are residents of Battle Creek, too. It’s no secret there is a significant leakage of disposable income from our community. We hope, via this project and similar ones, our fellow residents continue to recognize there are exciting things in, and coming to, Battle Creek.”
How will the business be able to use these funds?
“The incentive is intentionally flexible. We don’t want to inadvertently discourage a potential restauranteur/developer because of rigid award structure. Funds could be used toward building purchase/lease, buying equipment or training/hiring staff, as just a few examples. Mirroring our brewery RFP from a year ago, the restaurant RFP will be tailored to fit the unique project requirements of the award winner, helping them ultimately realize success in our community.”
What other exciting things is Battle Creek Unlimited working on right now?
“Battle Creek Unlimited’s pipeline remains full. Fort Custer Industrial Park continues to thrive. We are excited about the newest company to join the park, Torishima Pump, a Japanese pump manufacturer. Staff is also involved with Aequitas, a transportation service provider beginning operations in February. Looking ahead, BCU is working on strategy efforts to help attract new drone and other related aviation outfits. Additionally, we are excited to see the Battle Creek Small Business Loan Fund flourish; over the summer, BCU’s board of directors approved a $1.2 million contribution to the fund. It’s encouraging to see that money already being put to work in the community. Back downtown, beyond the restaurant RFP, we’re keen for New Holland’s planned summer opening, new housing in Heritage Tower and the Restore (269) project at 15 Carlyle (featuring a brewpub, offices and an event space) – all of which BCU played a significant role in. Other efforts for new housing options are on the radar, too. Recently we’ve talked with multiple developers interested in building new residential projects in Battle Creek.”
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