Finlandia Jutila Center
|HANCOCK - July 6, 2009
Phase II Jutila Center Renovations Begin
President Philip Johnson is pleased to announce that Phase II
renovations to Finlandia’s Jutila Center for Global Design and
Business began June 1.
“Finlandia recognizes the importance of contributing to the economic
development of the western Upper Peninsula,” Johnson says. “It is
rewarding to contribute to a stronger business community, creating
more job opportunities for our graduates and all Copper Country
The second round of improvements to the former Portage View Hospital
continues a multi-phase project funded by an Economic Development
Authority grant awarded in 2005. Including the current $1.58 million
project, a total of $4.7 million has been invested to date in
renovations to the Jutila Center, including a $700,000 investment
from the Smart Zone. A recent 40% Finlandia matching gift paved the
way for Phase II work.
|“As a business incubator the Jutila Center was eligible for EDA
grants that encourage job creation,” explains Bonnie Holland,
director of the Jutila Center. “Now that the first three floors are
fully occupied, and we continue to receive applications to lease
office suites, additional space has become justified.”
Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR)
us facilitate both phases of the public/private project, and we’ve
also worked closely with UP Engineers and Architects and other local
partners to make this happen,” says Holland.
“Community support was essential to progress this far with Jutila
Center renovations. Community development cannot be accomplished in
a vacuum,” she adds. “The Chicago regional office of EDA has placed
tremendous confidence in this project.”
|The Jutila Center small business incubator opened in 2005.
Currently at 90% capacity, the incubator houses 19 companies
employing 37 people. Software development, insurance, art, music,
photography, wellness, and a café are among the services offered.
The Smart Zone location on the fourth floor is home to 11
A distinction of the Jutila Center business incubator is the
opportunity for collaboration between Finlandia’s art and design
students and Jutila Center and Smart Zone businesses, as well as
other Keweenaw-area businesses.
Offering student design services to enhance business innovation is a
concept Finlandia University has adapted from a learning model
practiced at the Kuopio Academy of Design, Kuopio, Finland.
“This component of the EDA/Finlandia University partnership
complements and adds value for Jutila Center and Smart Zone
tenants,” says Holland. “In 2007 the combined value of
student-provided design services, if purchased, would have exceeded
Product and graphic design, market research, rapid prototyping,
marketing and branding campaigns, and ergonomic analysis are a few
of the projects undertaken by Finlandia students.
Jutila Center investment in infrastructure, technology, equipment,
and business services create an environment that adds value for
Ken Dillinger, president of U.P. Engineers and Architects, believes
the success of the Jutila Center incubator illustrates the
creativity of the community. He adds that he sees a lot of
communication between the engineers of the Smart Zone technology
companies and the Finlandia students, and that the overlap in
communication strengthens ties with the Keweenaw community and
between Finlandia and Michigan Technological University.
“I think we have a lot of entrepreneurs in the community,” says
Dillinger. “Business incubators are a way to keep capital investment
low and give businesses the opportunity to build a client base,
develop assets, and eventually move on and make room for
UPEA translated Finlandia’s Jutila Center program statements into
cost estimates and a schematic design. Dillinger says the plans
anticipate future needs, including connecting suites to allow for
individual business expansion and opening up the corridors to create
Improvements to both the exterior and interior of the nine-story
building are targeted for completion this fall. This includes
replacement of the roof and windows on floors five to nine and
upgrades to the plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and fire
suppression systems. A second boiler and a second elevator will also
“The building is structurally sound so our approach is to preserve
as much of the original structure as possible, replacing only those
systems that need updating” says Holland.
Phase II also includes complete renovation of floors six and seven,
each 6,000 sq. ft., which will add up to 25 additional business
incubator suites. Floors eight and nine are open for development or
sale or lease. The fifth floor of the Jutila Center is reserved for
additional university classrooms and studios.
Following a competitive public bidding process, Gundlach Champion of
Houghton, Mich., was chosen general contractor for the Phase II
renovation project. John Sturos, Gundlach engineer and estimator, is
the project’s manager.
Sturos says that asbestos and lead paint removal on floors six and
seven has been completed and over the next several weeks crews will
work on demolition of old fixtures in preparation for the
construction of new walls.
Fourteen subcontractors, each of them employing two to four workers,
are working with Gundlach Champion on Jutila Center renovations,
notes Sturos. Subcontractor specialties include roofing, windows,
flooring and carpet, acoustical ceilings, fire suppression, electric
and mechanical, signage, and elevator upgrades. All but one of the
subcontractors are based in the Upper Peninsula, most of them from
western and central U.P.
As the regional liaison to the EDA, the Western Upper Peninsula
Planning and Development Region, along with several other regional
agencies, has been assisting the City of Hancock and Finlandia with
Center renovations since Finlandia purchased the former hospital in
WUPPDR represents the western U.P. counties of Baraga, Gogebic,
Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon in a collaborative effort to
foster economic development. It was established by a State of
Michigan Public Act in 1968 and is one of 14 economic
development districts in Michigan. It is a member-based organization
representing various forms of municipalities, including the City of
“Regionalism is the key to what we do,” notes Kim Stoker, executive
director of WUPPDR. “What’s good for us is good for our neighbors.
Given today’s limited resources, we all have to collaborate in order
As all requests for EDA grants must be proposed by municipalities,
the City of Hancock and WUPPDR worked closely with Finlandia to
propose the Jutila Center renovations via a Community Economic
Development Strategy. Stoker notes that the EDA grant for the first
phase of Jutila Center renovations was approved with much credit due
to Hancock city manager Glenn Anderson and John Peck, retired
economic development representative for the EDA.
|The second and current phase of Jutila Center was begun by
former director of the Jutila Center. Stoker says her recognition
that the “envelope” of the former hospital needed improvement for
the overall success of the effort was key to what has been
“It is very unusual that the EDA will come in and do a second phase
on a project,” says Stoker. “Their attitude is, if we can’t make it
work the first time, why would we fund it again? But Joanne sat down
with the EDA and convinced them that that they needed to help with
the envelope of the building.”
Stoker adds that it took a lot of hard work by a lot of people to
help the Jutila Center succeed, including John Sullivan and Ken
Dillinger of UP Engineering, the cooperation of MTEC and the Smart
Zone, and Bonnie Holland, who stepped in to bring all the pieces
Five companies have pre-leased sixth and seventh floor Jutila Center
suites, Holland says. Two of them are current tenants moving into
larger offices; three are new companies moving to the area.
Holland invites businesses in all phases of expansion to contact
her. She says the open floor plan on these floors make them suitable
for flexible office space.
“These are exceptional office suites with a premium view of the
Portage Waterway,” Holland adds. “We are not only looking for new
start-up companies, but for companies in expansion mode, firms that
are investing in new equipment and adding personnel, and businesses
that are relocating to the western U.P.”
For additional information about the Finlandia University Jutila
Center and EDA Phase II renovations, please contact Bonnie Holland,
director of the Jutila Center, at 906-487-7344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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