United Way of Midland County will move to new donated building and sell current building.

Aligned with its long-term strategic plan approved in 2015, the United Way of Midland County (UWMC) Board of Directors voted on Wednesday to relocate to a smaller building with less overhead and to begin the process of selling its current building.  As part of the transition, United Way will help its current tenants with their relocation.

The current location – the Strosacker Center – is located at 220 West Main Street and also houses several affiliated agencies.  As part of its 2015 strategic plan, the Board had determined it was no longer strategic for UWMC to be a landlord and would seek a new facility more appropriately sized for UWMC operations.  On Wednesday, the Board voted to relocate to property at 115 Jerome Street, recently known as the Arbury building, with a generous donation through the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation Building Endowment Fund.

Bobbie Arnold, President of the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation, shared, “The three family foundations, the original funders of the Strosacker Center, support United Way’s strategic direction and applaud its commitment to being prudent stewards of donor dollars entrusted to them.  The original model for UWMC to serve as landlord of the Strosacker Center delivered many years of success for UWMC, its partner agencies, and the Midland community.  We understand and support its focus on aligning with its core mission of delivering community impact.”

“This new building has ample office space and parking for our staff and for community meetings, and it will significantly reduce the cost and time of managing our current much larger facility,” according to Ann Fillmore, Executive Director.  “United Way is grateful for our long-standing partnership with the foundations who have played such a significant role in our history and they continue to help support our future.  We are proud and honored that our new facility will retain the name of The Strosacker Center.”

“This purchase will maintain UWMC’s downtown presence, an important consideration for us, and has the benefit of also preserving the legacy of this Dow-Gilmore building,” added Wally Mayton, UWMC Board Chairman.

Mayton emphasized that United Way has a strong commitment to assist with a relocation plan for the current tenants of the Strosacker Center.  “Our goal is to protect and preserve the integrity of United Way as a community organization with the best interests of the community, including during this transition,” he said.

Background of the current Strosacker Building

In 1987, UWMC purchased and renovated the Sears Building into what is now known as the Strosacker Center with funds that included lead funding from the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation, and additional support from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation and the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation.  The objectives thirty years ago were to house UWMC administrative offices, house select UWMC partner agencies, serve as a community meeting space, and to participate in a coordinated investment effort on Main Street.   This model delivered decades of success for UWMC, its partner agencies and the Midland community.

Refreshing United Way’s building requirements – 30 years later

Several factors have led UWMC and community stakeholders to explore options for UWMC and agency future space needs.

When developing UWMC’s strategic building plan in 2015, the board determined that serving as a landlord does not align with today’s strategic plan or organizational intent.  UWMC’s landlord status comes with risk of operating losses based on building operating costs, market lease rates, and vacancy rates.  While the building is fully leased so far in 2017, UWMC has experienced annual operating losses in recent years, and additional capital investment would be required in the near future.

Various site options were considered based on the objectives of aligning United Way’s core mission and strategy while appropriately managing UWMC funds and assets, visibility and accessibility in the community, and assuring transition support for current tenants of the Strosacker Center.  The Arbury building meets those needs, and United Way will continue to serve as the landlord of the Strosacker Center during this transition.

In partnership with the Michigan Baseball Foundation, UWMC will include the Strosacker Center in the Downtown Property Offering to market the property.  The Downtown Property Offering is a collaborative effort among various property owners to redevelop vacant or underutilized sites downtown.

For more information, please visit unitedwaymidland.org/transition.