The public discovers the old plans of the prison site | News, Sports, Jobs
ESCANABA — Four groups seeking to redevelop the former sites of the Delta County Jail and Chamber of Commerce building shared their plans with residents at a special Escanaba City Council meeting on Tuesday.
The meeting generated so much public interest that the Escanaba City Hall council chamber was unable to accommodate all Delta County residents in attendance, forcing some to watch the proceedings on a television in the hall. Despite the interest, few community members who were not affiliated with public or private entities that promote tourism – such as Visit Escanaba and the Escanaba Downtown Development Authority – spoke during the two public comment sessions. Of the reunion.
The developers themselves, however, largely represented a who’s who of Delta County businessmen and developers. Included on the list were Jarred Drown and Rick Elrod of the Terrace Bay Hotel; Matt and Beth Sviland of Swanee, Inc., who developed The Lofts on Ludington; and Aaron Kadish, project manager for North Shore Marine Terminal & Logistics.
A single project, a hotel project known as “Red Deer Lodge”, was submitted by developers outside of Delta County. The developers of this project were from the Lower Peninsula.
Tuesday’s meeting was part of a process developed by a prison redevelopment committee made up of county, city and community representatives. It started with drawing projects from a helmet.
“I just want to thank everyone who put in the time and work on these proposals. They were excellent.” City Manager Patrick Jordan said before drawing the plans.
First to present was Terrace Bay Hotel, LLC, which aims to create a Hampton Inn hotel on the former prison site. The $12 million project includes a 49,000 square foot, 80 room, four story hotel built in a contemporary design. The hotel would include an indoor pool and meeting space.
“This proposal is ready to go, and every penny of that $12 million is going to be invested locally,” Noyer said.
The project should create 25 to 30 new jobs. Demolition of the prison building would begin this summer with groundbreaking planned for the spring of 2023. The hotel would be completed and have a grand opening during the summer of 2024.
“There is a housing shortage in Delta County, and that has also created a ripple effect, which is a housing shortage. The way to solve this housing and accommodation shortage is clearly more accommodation,” Noyer said. “AirBnBs and VRBOs have proliferated in Delta County due to a shortage of hotel rooms. An investment in hotels will reduce the need for AirBnBs, VRBOs and additional short-term rentals, which in turn will reduce the pressure on housing supply.
Since the jail property is also incorporated into the former Delta County Chamber of Commerce building, many of the projects featured Tuesday included second-phase projects for the chamber of commerce site. While Terrace Bay Hotel, LLC, did not have a cost estimate or timeline for the second property, Drown suggested the property would be converted into an additional hotel facility and possibly offices for a dinner cruise operation.
Terrace Bay Hotel, LLC, is working with Embers Credit Union, formerly Delta County Credit Union, and the Small Business Administration to fund the project.
MARINE NORTH SHORE
The second developer to submit was North Shore Marine Terminal and Logistics. Unlike other developers, Kadish did not present a slideshow to showcase the sitemaps.
“We don’t have a big fancy presentation. Our presentation is out there on the water,” Kadish said.
The prison site sits between two properties currently owned by North Shore Marine, and acquiring the property would allow the ship repair portion of the company’s operations to expand to include an additional vessel or to allow for work on larger vessels at the facility. .
Kadish was unsure how many jobs the expansion would create, but, based on the 700 people currently registered as secure personnel for the company’s military contracts, it could be 100 or more. Between 10 and 15 jobs would be created in the construction phase.
“Bringing these two properties together for us just makes more sense for the community because it brings that work, it brings those jobs there so other professionals can come to the area. Don’t just come here to visit on a weekend, eat in a restaurant and stay in a hotel – Live here. Stay here,” Kadish said.
If North Shore Marine wins the project, construction of the seawall will take place this summer and demolition of the jail will follow its completion.
North Shore Marine has no plans to develop the former Chamber of Commerce building, which could allow one of the other three developers to move forward with their side projects.
“Our current interest is primarily prison property. We would be open to splitting it or working with someone else on the other property for the type of development that has been presented and will be presented as we move forward in today’s meeting” , Kadish said.
The project, which North Shore Marine Terminal and Logistics would be entirely self-funding, also includes a wharf to house a museum ship as a local attraction, green space and visitor parking.
RED DEER LODGE
The third project featured on Tuesday came from the Red Deer Lodge development team, which aims to put a high-end extended-stay hotel on the site. The hotel would have more than 80 rooms and would be a Home2 by Hilton hotel.
Development of the hotel would begin next year with the hotel open and operational in the second half of 2024.
The project is expected to create approximately 100 jobs during the construction phase. Thirty additional full-time and part-time jobs would be created once the hotel is operational.
The Red Deer Lodge development team’s plan for the bedroom construction site is a mixed-use development consisting of condos and retail space. The site plans are currently more fluid than the prison site, with several building styles being considered.
Over the course of the project, the team expects an investment of $36-40 million at the two sites.
“We would love to be part of your community. We would be happy to put some capital into it. And we don’t just see three phases. We see the fourth phase and the fifth phase. We have ideas to help the city achieve its goals,” said Michael Pollakowski, general manager of the Red Deer Lodge development team.
NORTH SHORE APARTMENTS
The final submission on Tuesday was from Swanee, Inc. The group aims to put a minimum of 27 condominiums in three buildings on the jail site and a mixed-use building on the Chamber of Commerce site, which would include 44 apartments as well as commercial spaces. . Condos would cost between $475,000 and $600,000, and apartment rent would be between $700 and $1,600 per month.
“Last week alone we received nine calls from people moving to the area looking for an apartment. We average at least two requests per week all year round for apartments and we haven’t had a vacancy in the past two years. Beth Sviland said, referring to Swanee’s existing rentals.
If selected as the site developer, Swanee would demolish the prison and begin brownfield mitigation this summer. Ground would be broken on the condominiums in April 2023, with construction to be completed in December 2025. The redevelopment of the Chamber site would begin with the demolition and mitigation of the Chamber of Commerce site in 2025, with the apartment and the mixed-use complex under construction between September 2025 and December 2027.
The condominiums and apartment complex would have four stories, with indoor and outdoor parking. Commercial spaces attached to the apartment complex would include event space, a fitness center and a restaurant.
In total, the project is expected to cost $36.9 million. Although Swanee intends to access additional tax funding assistance from the city – which all other developers except North Shore Marine have also indicated they will pursue – Swanee believes he has a path to state funding that will reduce the payback period, ultimately reducing the impact of the prison’s brownfield status on the city’s tax base. Additionally, Swanee secured funding from BayBank for the project.
“Our team has the vast experience and technical know-how to utilize the government initiatives that are needed – that are needed to turn these brownfields into beautiful and useful properties,” says Matt Sviland.
No decision was made Tuesday on which developer would be offered the two sites. A survey for residents to weigh in on the future of the prison and chamber construction sites is available online at www.escanaba.org.