MENOMINEE—Construction on the Kmart property is expected to start in early 2023 now that the building is down, said Nancy Douglas, vice chair of the Menominee County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.
The construction project includes an extended-stay hotel. The hotel’s name has yet to be released to the public, with more information to be released later.
“We’re lucky to find a developer willing to make this kind of investment in Menominee,” Douglas said.
She said that the next step of Veridea Group, the Marquette-based real estate developer, is site preparation—they’re still refining engineering drawings.
“This is one of the few proactive programs we have available to small communities,” she said.
Douglas said that the project, which has been in the works for around two years now, is on track, but clearing the title took a little longer than expected. Additional approval is also pending from the state of Michigan. Douglas said she expects to receive approval by the end of November on the project.
To residents wanting more affordable housing options in the area, Douglas said that is in phase two of the developer’s plans.
“If people have been following this project, the extended stay hotel is phase one. The developer has proposed three more phases, one of which is worker-affordable housing apartments. It’s been part of the proposal since the beginning. That will come after the extended-stay hotel is completed,” she said. “We’re going to take it one step at a time.”
The project is in a Brownfield development zone, which the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority manages. Douglas said that projects like these require extensive research on the surrounding area, including if it would make money and be beneficial for residents. She said that all local units have agreed to move forward with the appropriate tax reductions for the property, which will bring more jobs and dollars to the community.
Douglas said that private dollars are funding the project. The first page of the Brownfield development documents says, “Nothing happens until there is private investment.”
“It’s not grant money. It’s tax money,” she said.
As the project moves forward, the developer will compile a list of authorized expenses like infrastructure, utility repair and environmental cleanup, she said. As the developer pays taxes on the property, they are reimbursed with those same tax dollars they paid into the project, she said. The program reimburses the developer from taxes they typically pay until those allowable costs are covered. From that point, they pay full taxes, she said.
Why build a hotel?
“This is a sophisticated development company,” she said. “There’s been a lot of studies done about the potential market here. The market has to be there, and there is a market for this. The developers understand why it will work and be profitable.”
The previous owner of the property and owner of M&M Plaza Enterprises, Keith Killen, purchased the property to protect the look of the community, Douglas said. He decided to sell the property to Veridea Group.
Douglas said that as Menominee grows and changes, it may look different than it did 40 or 50 years ago.
“They can be part of the growth or not—that’s the choice of the citizens,” she said.
Erin Noha can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org