CADILLAC — Northwoods Hotel and Escape Bar will be renovated into an apartment building and restaurant with some help from the city.

Cadillac is expected to consider creating a brownfield at the site of the old Northwoods Hotel and Escape Bar and Grill on the corner of Harris and Mitchell streets.

City Manager Marcus Peccia said it will be similar to the new Cadillac Lofts mixed-use development, which is just a block away.

Declared “functionally obsolete‘ by the city’s assessor, the Northwoods Hotel property qualifies as a “Brownfield Eligible Property,‘ according to a memo to the Cadillac Brownfield Redevelopment Authority from Mac McClelland, brownfield development manager for Otwell Mawby, P.C., who has worked on similar projects for the city in the past.

Now owned by Val Vista RV Park, LLC, the new owners plan to develop the property into apartments and an anticipated restaurant.

Doing so will take an estimated $4 million in investments, with $575,472 of that money being in “eligible activity costs.‘

Typically, those costs include environmental clean-up, asbestos abatement and demolition. And because Cadillac is one of the communities the Michigan Economic Development Corporation lists as a qualified local government, site preparation and infrastructure are also qualified costs.

The property pays $7,404 in annual tax revenue now; after the project, it’s estimated it will bring in $96,934 annually.

“Based on the amount of investment, the millage rate is applied to the increased taxable value and those incremental taxes are captured annually by the Brownfield Authority and reimbursed to the developer until the actual Eligible Activity costs are fully reimbursed,‘ McClelland explained via email. “The brownfield plan estimates that payback to be 9 years.‘

McClelland said he expected the brownfield plan to go before the Cadillac City Council on Oct. 21.

If the city approves, the plan will be “submitted to the State for approval of School Operating and State Education Tax capture, which takes around 60 days,‘ McClelland said. “By the way, Cadillac Area Public Schools are held harmless by brownfield capture and still receive their per pupil foundation grants.‘

It’s estimated that the new development could bring five full-time jobs with an hourly rate of $13/hour and eight part-time jobs at $10/hour.

The earliest available records indicate that the Northwoods Hotel site was known as the McKinnon Hotel in 1884, according to a description of the property’s history in a draft of the brownfield plan. Now, it’s home to a jewelry store, a clothing store and eight apartments. The Escape Bar shut down in January 2018.

Cadillac News