CADILLAC — Virtually every step in the transformation of the former Sands Resort into the Lake Cadillac Resort has been more involved than developers Mike Blackmer and John Kulhavi originally anticipated.

Why should work on the pool be any different?

Crews recently finished renovating the 33,000-gallon pool, the building enclosing it, and 12 adjoining rooms. The rooms are connected directly to the pool, allowing lodgers easy access to the water at any time they please, day or night.

Blackmer said they initially thought only minimal clean-up work would be necessary in the rooms to get them ready for re-opening. When they examined them more closely, however, it turned out they were in pretty rough shape and required a complete “rebuild.‘

Other major features of the pool facility that needed to be redone were the roof, which was starting to cave in from deterioration, and the windows facing toward Lake Cadillac.

“There’s a big difference now from what it used to be,‘ Blackmer said. “Everything we’ve gotten into (with this project) has cost twice as much as we thought it would.‘

Blackmer and Kulhavi purchased the resort in 2019 and immediately set about redeveloping the area into the Lake Cadillac Resort. They also purchased the nearby Marina restaurant, which they turned into the Dockside Inn; and the Rosa Blanca party store and site of Primo’s BBQ, which they turned into an ice cream shop and party store.

Together, these formerly separate pieces now have been brought under the umbrella of the Lake Cadillac Resort brand, and while Blackmer estimates they are about 90% done with everything they’d like to do at the resort, there are still additional features in the works.

One of those features is a restaurant located in the building that formerly housed the Sand Bar nightclub. Now called the Sultan’s Table, the restaurant features numerous pieces of memorabilia and rare items from Kulhavi’s personal collection, including a framed centerpiece showcasing autographed pictures of famous mobsters.

The current ban on dine-in activities has delayed the opening of the Sultan’s Table but Blackmer said they could be ready to open their doors as soon as the ban is lifted, or shortly after. In any event, Blackmer said they’ll be open by May 1, at the latest. The restaurant will offer beverages and a variety of light food options, including wraps, submarine sandwiches and salads.

Future goals for the resort include the construction of a conference center, an expanded docking area to accommodate more boats off Lake Cadillac, and several “entertainment projects‘ in front of the establishment. Kulhavi said these include a miniature train that will take passengers on a tour of the resort, a decorative waterfall and a merry-go-round.

While the Dockside Inn is still closed as a result of the dine-in ban, Blackmer said their hotel lodging numbers have been very good since Christmas, thanks in part to decent snowfall.

Cadillac News