PONTIAC — Pontiac’s former Sears downtown department store is being redeveloped into an energy-efficient retail and residential building.

What will be called Lafayette Place Lofts will consist of 46 new rental loft housing units, the Lafayette Market, and an Anytime Fitness Center to serve both residents and the community.

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The renovation of the 80,000 square foot structure is the largest construction investment in Downtown Pontiac in nearly 30 years.

The development will create more than 200 construction jobs and an estimated 100 permanent positions.

In addition to the preservation of the building’s historical integrity with minimal exterior changes, Lafayette Place Lofts is designed to encompass modern energy efficiency and green ideals, including a geothermal system and photovoltaic panels, the use of recycled and sustainable building materials and a rooftop terrace area. The building will pursue LEED certification and will try to become as close to net zero energy use as possible.

The project is being led by West Construction Services, a builder and developer specializing in historical preservation while using the latest technology.

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The $19.8 million project is funded by the State of Michigan Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2, a federal New Markets and Historic Tax Credit partnership with U.S. Bank, the Michigan Magnet Fund, state historic tax credits, brownfield tax credits, KeyBank as well as other private lending institutions.

With NSP2 funding, cities and The Land Bank can eliminate blight and address abandoned properties to increase values and rebuild a sustainable urban residential and neighborhood infrastructure. The NMTC Program helps to raise investor capital and leverages public and private funding to fill identified financing shortfalls in support of community development projects. A portion of U.S. Bank’s NMTC investment will support the development of the Lafayette Market, which aligns with a commitment U.S. Bank made in 2011 to allocate a significant portion of its NMTC investments to projects that increase healthy, affordable food availability.

“Pontiac’s $14 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant we’re administering with the Michigan Land Bank is creating jobs for Pontiac residents and a major investment for Oakland County,” said Oakland County Treasurer and Michigan Land Bank Board chairman Andy Meisner. “The Lafayette Lofts multiuse development is a game-changer for Downtown Pontiac, bringing great new living, working and shopping opportunities.”

The MMF invested $9.5 million in New Markets Tax Credits. “The Michigan Magnet Fund Board is excited about investing in an innovative project that will stimulate Pontiac’s downtown economy with new businesses and new residents,” said Michigan Magnet Fund chief business development officer Al Bogdan.

“We believe this project is really going to benefit Pontiac,” said Art Stoltzfus, KeyBank community development lending. “The $5.9 million KeyBank is providing as bridge financing will enable the project to go forward on schedule. We are especially excited about the affordable housing aspect of the Lafayette Place Lofts Development, and the fact that portions of the building will provide outlets for healthy, fresh, locally grown food. KeyBank is dedicated to serving communities where financial services have been scarce, and we’re proud to be part of this catalytic project.”

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One and two bedroom loft-style apartments will range from $590 to $1,300 per month. Amenities include exposed brick walls, vintage hardwood floors, open floor plans, historic large pane windows, granite countertops, upgraded stainless steel appliances and brushed nickel fixtures. The project is slated for completion in December.