CADILLAC — The Northwood Hotel is not going to be torn down.
“The building is not being torn down, nor was it ever going to be torn down,‘ said Kevin Dunaway, a representative of Val Vista RV Park, the new owners of the building at 101 East Harris Street. “We’re in the process of working to redevelop the building.‘
The building at 101 East Harris St. is the home to Saturn Gems, a boutique, the former Escape Bar and four residents. But the Cadillac’s assessor has deemed the building functionally obsolete.
“It’s an over 100-year-old building. It just needs to be brought up to the current standards,‘ Dunaway said. “Nobody’s in harm right now it’s just, if you’re going to redo a building like that and put a large amount of money in it, you need to make sure you modernize it.‘
The building will continue to host various uses.
“It’s going to be a mixed-use building, so it’s going to have apartments and then retail and hopefully a restaurant on the first floor,‘ Dunaway said.
The property owners are working with the city on a Brownfield Development Plan (the city’s brownfield committee has approved the plan but city council has not; a public hearing is anticipated soon). The Brownfield Plan, if approved by city council, would provide for $575,472 in “eligible activity‘ costs.
Eligible activity costs are things that can be re-paid through tax reimbursement; since the property will be worth more after improvements, owners would typically pay more in taxes. But if the brownfield plan is approved, some of the building’s taxes would be diverted back to the owners to pay them back for the cost of certain improvements.
The $575,472 in eligible activity costs is just a portion of the anticipated total investment.
“The amount of money invested in the building for renovations is estimated at $4 million,‘ said Mac McClelland, the city’s brownfield consultant through the engineering firm Otwell Mawby.
Of the $575,472 in eligible activity costs, the plan calls for $190,900 to be used on “Site and Selective Demolition.‘
But that money will not be used to tear down the historic building, which has been around at least since 1884 when it was known as the McKinnon Hotel.
The demolition funds are for the building’s interior, Dunaway said.
“The building has to be completely redone inside,‘ Dunaway said. “In order to house the new apartments and retail.‘
The planned improvements would also bring additional housing to downtown.
“It’s gonna be at least 14 apartments, I would say,‘ Dunaway estimated.
There are four residents currently living in the building.
The Brownfield Plan says those people will need to find a new place to live without financial assistance.
“The individuals residing in the rental dwellings located on the eligible property will be responsible for relocation and no relocation costs will be allocated,‘ the plan draft states. “There is abundant opportunity for leasing a residential dwelling in the City and surrounding communities.‘
The current renters might be referred to the Cadillac Housing Commission, according to the plan document.
None of the current renters are clients of the commission, said Carrie Ferguson, executive director of the Cadillac Housing Commission. The waiting list for public housing through the commission can be one-to-three years. Ferguson said she had not been approached about the current residents at Northwood Hotel.
Dunaway says they haven’t finalized the pricing yet for the apartments.
“We need to get further along in the process and have a complete set of documents from the architect,‘ Dunaway said. “We’re still working through that.‘
The timeline is also still up in the air.
There won’t be a timeline until construction starts, which owners “hope and anticipate‘ happening in early 2020.
There are no confirmed tenants for the retail space and restaurant. Saturn Gems will have to move out during renovation but Dunaway said it would be great to have them back afterward.
“They’re a great tenant. They’re good people for our town,‘ Dunaway said.