MUSKEGON, MI– Craig Person is an unlikely Muskegon superhero.
He borrows from the Superman storyline to fight for his block on Pine Street in the City of Muskegon’s McLaughlin Neighborhood and foster improvement across the city and community. He has taken his residential redevelopment successes and has become a huge promoter of Muskegon’s ongoing transformation.
“I want to be the kryptonite to negativity and give more than I take so I’m informing folks about Muskegon’s growth to open the door for others … that only seems right,” Person said of taking his housing rehabilitation that has led his company into marketing and promoting the city.
Person has tirelessly worked purchasing and redeveloping a half block of forgotten McLaughlin properties, turning them into the unexpected “smart apartments” and rental units with luxury finishes.
After finding Muskegon from his native California in 2014, he spent seven long years, restoring his flagship building known as “Blue House Manor” on Pine Street and Isabella Avenue to demonstrate that the McLaughlin Neighborhood was worthy of the time and effort it took to restore the property to what it had been in its glory years.
Person even added a private garden called “Blue House Garden” which once was an empty lot where he said he removed more than 10 wheel barrels of broken glass by hand-sifting it along with car parts and broken concrete. The effort made way for beautiful flowers, ornamental trees, cobble stone walk ways and custom-built furniture. It has created a peaceful oasis in an urban setting, he said.
The native Californian started his journey in Silicon Valley as a global risk and compliance manager for a Fortune 500 technology company with no ties to Michigan.
“California was becoming increasingly difficult in which to own a home and sometimes it would take two or more incomes to survive,” he said of the San Jose area.
Person had taught himself how to write software programs early in his career and over time advanced into management, helping to create unique and innovative technology-based solutions. Person said: “I had finally hit the glass ceiling in my career and wanted to do something that would test all of my abilities,” he said.
Person said he connected with his passion for real estate and started a nationwide search for affordable investment properties. He found a Muskegon Heights single-family home on EBay for $3,000, saying he couldn’t believe that was possible.
He eventually purchased a duplex in Muskegon Heights with plans to make improvements. That house created his business identity. Person’s first impulse was to change the duplex from an unattractive blue to a neutral color: “I called my company Blue House instead.”
There’s been no looking back as he then decided sell his California home and move into the original duplex he purchased in 2014 for $5,000. Later the same year, Person purchased a four-unit apartment building in Muskegon’s McLaughlin Neighborhood for another $5,000 and has called the redevelopment “Blue House Manor.”
The grand opening tour of Blue House Manor in late 2020 attracted community and city leaders who welcomed the effort Person put into the property: “As a minority business owner, I wanted to make a visible contribution to improve this area and show others how to do the same.”
Person started a Facebook video blog — “Coffee with Craig” — showing others how to start investing in urban redevelopment. Person plans to eventually release a full documentary regarding Muskegon’s resurgence, saying he is proud to call Muskegon his new home.
“My motto is dream big, think big and make a difference,” Person said of now seeking investment opportunities in the redevelopment of Downtown Muskegon. “I am all in on Muskegon.”