THE JCPENNEY BUILDING in downtown Owosso was built in the mid-1980s by former Indian Trails Inc. CEO Bill Himburg and Owosso businessman Bill Howe. The two men formed W.H. Partnership for the express purpose of financing and building the JCPenney building, which is located at 201 S. Washington St. in Owosso.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
A local development/investment group led by Brent Mowinski, the owner of Mowinski Financial in Owosso, purchased the JCPenney building in Owosso on Oct. 18 from W.H. Partnership, which was formed by former Indian Trails Inc. CEO Bill Himburg and Owosso businessman Bill Howe in the mid-1980s. JCPenney was looking to expand in the Owosso area at the time, so Himburg and Howe formed W.H. Partnership and built the JCPenney building on the southeast corner of S. Washington and E. Comstock Streets.
Mowinski reports that JCPenney, which has a long-term lease on the space, will stay in the building for the foreseeable future. Mowinski, who was “born and raised in the Owosso/Corunna area,” entered the financial services industry in 2008 and opened Mowinski Financial in 2010.
He has since joined the growing number of individuals and organizations who are working to enhance downtown Owosso. Between his two development groups, Mowinski co-owns several properties and buildings throughout the community that are in various stages of redevelopment.
In addition to having a vested interest in the Owosso area as a life-long resident and longtime business owner, Mowinski has also been very active in the community for years. He is a member and past president of the Shiawassee-Owosso Kiwanis, and he is an ambassador and former president of the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The building’s most recent previous owner is Indian Trails Inc. of Owosso, which bought the building from the family of Bill Howe within the past three years. Indian Trails President Chad Cushman notes that the sale of the building “just happened to work out” for everyone involved.
“The sale had nothing to do with JCPenney itself,” Cushman explained. “After Bill Howe passed away and his family settled the estate, Indian Trails bought the building and took over the property management responsibilities. With both the W.H. Partnership founders deceased, and since the building is not part of the Indian Trails bus operation, our owners decided to sell if there was an interested buyer. A short time later, Brent heard the property might be available and approached us.”