Benton Harbor, Michigan, March 16, 2017 - Cornerstone Alliance, Berrien County’s lead economic development agency, and Mosaic CCDA, Berrien County’s high impact job training organization, have partnered and will invest more than $1M in downtown Benton Harbor in 2017. The two organizations will be moving into new locations and redeveloping downtown properties in order to better serve their clients. The Board of Directors for both organizations unanimously approved the moves at their respective March meetings.
"The residents of the City of Benton Harbor all have the opportunity to benefit from a move of this magnitude,” said Benton Harbor Mayor, Marcus Muhammad. “Cornerstone Alliance and Mosaic provide resources that allow our residents to have access to better jobs, to more skills that employers look for and to start a business of their own. The fact that both organizations are choosing to grow and invest downtown proves that Benton Harbor continues to move in the right direction.”
For three decades, Cornerstone Alliance has driven economic development efforts from its location in Benton Harbor. In the past five years, Cornerstone Alliance has assisted in the creation of more than $80 million of new investment and more than 450 jobs by working with companies that include: Kay Manufacturing, Colson USA, Pero Family Farms, Vickers Engineering, Special-Lite, LECO Corporation and JR Automation.
Premium office and conference facilities at the new anchor location on Main Street will be available for Economic Development, Women’s Business Center and Small Business Services, the Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce, SCORE and the Renaissance Development Fund. Cornerstone Alliance’s new offices at 80 W. Main Street, in the heart of Benton Harbor’s Arts District and Main Street corridors, is another example of capital investment for mixed-use, office, commercial and residential development from private investors and area non-profit organizations.
“The primary focus of Cornerstone Alliance is to promote investment and job creation in Berrien County,” said John Janick, Chairman of the Board of Cornerstone Alliance. “We invested in and redeveloped the building at 38 W. Wall Street and it has been our home for 20 years. We’re thrilled that Mosaic will be able to renovate the building to better serve their clients, which allows Cornerstone Alliance to redevelop more property and improve another block of Benton Harbor Main Street.”
The “Mosaic On the Move” Capital Campaign began in October 2016 as Mosaic pursued a permanent location for its operations in Benton Harbor. The Campaign’s goal is to raise $850,000 ($550,000 raised to date) to relocate the Mosaic Retail Store, Jobs for Life Program (JFL) and operational headquarters to its own building. Initial work with the City of Benton Harbor and its Growth Center at 200 Paw Paw provided great possibilities that unfortunately did not fit the timeline of Mosaic’s move, as delays due to federal reviews slowed progress. While Mosaic celebrates 38 Wall St. as a better path for their current needs, the partnership with the City remains a top priority for the Mosaic team. Mosaic wants to publicly thank the Mayor and City Manager for all of the hard work they have put forth to help Mosaic and our community.
“At Mosaic, we are absolutely thrilled to be engaged in such a strategic and timely partnership,” said Justin Beene, Mosaic CCDA Vice-President. “In fact, Benton Harbor, like cities all over the world, is in desperate need of cross-sectoral and entrepreneurial ventures that are able to comprehensively address local needs, while building on existing assets. This partnership represents non-profit, for-profit and government coming together to not only develop and beautify our downtown corridor, but also to build up our beloved people of Benton Harbor through job training and job creation. We hope that this becomes a tipping point for many future developments that do the same and keep Benton Harbor moving forward.”
Rob Cleveland, President, Cornerstone Alliance: “We are grateful to have an organization like Mosaic in Berrien County. They provide services and resources to many area residents and Cornerstone Alliance is proud to be able to assist them in expanding their operations. Economic Development is never-ending and these moves are a great example of that process. We have companies creating new jobs, investing throughout Berrien County and Cornerstone Alliance is focused on helping those companies, while actively participating in place-making. Our new office will continue the great work that has was started years ago by private individuals who have made Main Street and the Arts District destinations of diversity.”
“As Berrien County’s lead business attraction agency, Cornerstone Alliance sees many outstanding opportunities for the Growth Center facility at 200 Paw Paw. Given the importance of Paw Paw Avenue and the Morton Hill district to the fabric of the community, we will continue to work closely with the City of Benton Harbor to promote the building in order to find just the right user that will enhance the economic growth of the entire City, benefiting all residents.”
Brian Bennett, President, Mosaic:
“We are truly excited about the opportunity to expand our operations and impact in downtown Benton Harbor. The City of Benton Harbor, Cornerstone Alliance and the Cornerstone Chamber have been excellent to work with. This is an awesome example of what happens when organizations work together for the common good. We believe this move will help us accelerate our vision to help 1,000 people take steps to greatness and sustainability in life by 2023.”
Greg Vaughn, COO & Vice-President of Business Development, Cornerstone Alliance:
“These moves show the evolution of the long-term commitment to development in Benton Harbor. We have maximized the programs, tools and resources available to us to create an environment that is attractive to developers; not only in Benton Harbor, but throughout Berrien County. We are excited about the prospect of leading more development on Main Street and bringing better services to more residents.”