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InvestUP is partnering with developers, lenders and government to increase workforce housing across the region.

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InvestUP is partnering with developers, lenders and government to increase workforce housing across the region.

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InvestUP announces Build U.P., a housing fund to help fast-track high impact shovel-ready housing projects

MARQUETTE, MI (July 5, 2023 )  InvestUP announces the launch of Build U.P. to address the Upper Peninsula’s immediate need for housing and provide the region with a long-term, sustainable fund to solve future housing challenges. Awards from the fund, which will total up to $15 million are available now. The priority of Build U.P. is to expedite the construction of shovel-ready housing projects in the Upper Peninsula. Developers and U.P. lenders can learn more about the fund on the InvestUP website.

Houghton City Manager, Eric Waara says, “This fund will provide developers with the financing they need to move many projects forward more quickly. Everyone wins.”

The fund was created in response to several regional economic polls and surveys. These surveys consistently identified the Upper Peninsula’s current lack of professional and workforce housing as the biggest economic obstacle facing the region. The studies provided evidence for a request to State of Michigan policymakers which awarded InvestUP up to $15 million to manage the sustainable fund.

“This fund creates a win-win-win for the Upper Peninsula,” said InvestUP CEO Marty Fittante. “Build U.P. will help developers move housing projects over the finish line faster. An increase in available housing will assist Upper Peninsula employers in attracting and retaining talent, which in turn will help boost regional population levels.” From Sault St. Marie to Houghton, InvestUP has already identified several housing projects with the potential to address critical needs in their communities.

Over the past year, InvestUP reached out to developers, lenders, municipalities, and subject matter experts to better understand the barriers that stood in the way of development. Two consistent challenges emerged: collateral shortfalls by borrowers and the cost of public infrastructure. InvestUP has created two programs to address these issues:

  • Cash Collateral Program provides cash collateral to enhance U.P. lending institution funding. Recipients must partner with a local lending institution to access funds. Funds may cover all or a portion of a calculated shortfall (as described by the lending institution).
  • Residential Infrastructure Loan Program provides financial assistance to Upper Peninsula cities, villages, counties, and townships to facilitate infrastructure extensions to new residential or rehabilitated housing; such as water, sewer, and road improvements.  Build U.P. will loan the local unit of government funds by purchasing their bonds at interest rates favorable to the local unit.  

InvestUP is managing Build U.P. as a long-term, sustainable fund to provide impact in addressing the UP-wide lack of housing. This innovative approach received strong support from the Michigan legislature and administration. Instead of one-time grants that would rapidly deplete the fund, Build U.P. investments will pay a modest return that will sustain the fund over time while still incentivizing development.

Questions? Please email

Build U.P. Programs Explained

Q & A

Build U.P. is a fund of up to $15 million intended to advance housing opportunities designed to grow the population in the Upper Peninsula. The State of Michigan awarded the funds to InvestUP to leverage investment for shovel-ready housing developments that are deemed critical to U.P. communities.

A separate nonprofit subsidiary of InvestUP has been created to oversee fund allocation. Please see question 11 about who is managing the fund.

No. The fund is intended to be sustainable long-term. Awards to recipients are made with an agreement that the recipient will return or repay the original awarded amount.  Interest rates and fees will be favorable to the borrower.  Investment returns to Build U.P. will be revolved into new projects.

 On July 11, 2022, the Michigan Legislature, as part of a bipartisan budget agreement, appropriated $15 million to establish the Fund through House Bill 5783. That bill was signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on July 20, 2022. 

No. For example, InvestUP served as fiduciary of $7.2 million in state-based pandemic assistance grants, which was delivered to more than 1,100 unique businesses throughout each of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties in a timely and compliant manner. 

  • An equitable geographic distribution of funds invested.
  • Shovel-ready projects.
  • Developments that appeal to increasing the regional population.
  • Developments that can demonstrate a relationship to job growth.
  • Projects where a municipality is willing to partner in the project.
  • Necessary government permits and land/project ownership is secured
  • Financing is committed, with the exception of closing “gaps.”
  • The project can be started within the next 18 months.
  • Any developer looking to build a housing development in the U.P. that has a qualified financial institution partner.
  • A qualified financial institution on behalf of an eligible borrower.
  • A local unit of government that that seeks infrastructure improvements that support a housing project.

InvestUP has established Build U.P., a separate non-profit entity governed by a separate board of directors and subject matter experts who will oversee policy and approve projects. Board members:

  • Fund Manager: Steve Arwood – Former President and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and former President and Chairman of the Michigan Strategic Fund.
  • Board President: Dave Nyberg – NMU
  • Board Treasurer: Todd LaFave – Todd C. LaFave, CPA, PC
  • Board Vice Chair: Steve Vairo – Calumet Electronics
  • Ronald Meister – Retired CEO of Central Savings Bank
  • Dave Vlahos – Retired CEO of Superior National Bank

Yes. Current guidelines are as follows:

Cash Collateral Program

The maximum size of each cash collateral award for an eligible single project cannot exceed 10% of total project costs (based on the lessor of total project costs or appraised value), with a minimum size of $50,000 and a maximum of $1,500,000 per award.

Residential Infrastructure Loan Program

A bond purchased by Build U.P. shall be no less than $250,000 and no more than $1 million, with a repayment term of 15 years.

Parties interested in the Cash Collateral Program or the Residential Infrastructure Loan Program may access the necessary forms by clicking the buttons on the page to the left. You can either fill out the form online or download a fillable PDF.

Yes. However, the majority of the overall development must be dedicated to housing development.


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