Grayling Hotel project will be developed on site of existing downtown deteriorating building
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A landmark building in downtown Grayling, which is deteriorating rapidly and has been deemed functionally obsolete, will be demolished soon to make way for a new $8 million development.
The planned project calls for the demolition of the Chief Shoppenagon’s Motor Hotel, located at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Norway Street.
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners, at its regular monthly meeting held on Thursday, March 28, voted to support the Grayling Hotel project. The development was previously approved by the Crawford County Brownfield Authority Board.
Brownfields are parcels of property which are contaminated or categorized as functionally obsolete.
In its place, the four-story Grayling Hotel will be built. The ground level of 10,500 square feet will house the hotel lobby and retail space. The second and third floors will each include 10,500 square feet for hotel guest rooms. The fourth floor will include 10,500 square foot for commercial offices. A lower level parking deck would be located in the basement level of the building with 16 parking spaces.
The current property owner is Bear’s Den Inc., which is owned by Bill Gannon. Gannon also owns Bear’s Den Pizzeria, the Bear’s Den Banquet and Meeting Room, and the Dawson & Stevens Classic 50’s Diner in downtown Grayling. He also owns the property where Fred Bear Archery was located at 5671 M-72 West.
The hotel property has taxable valuable of $50,386 based on a tax assessment calculated for 2019. The hotel building is 20,366 square feet.
The existing hotel and the property are blighted and functionally obsolete, which has been determined by local building and safety officials and independent inspectors. Levels of mercury are in the soil and lead is in the groundwater, qualifying the property to be a Brownfield project.
The City of Grayling and Crawford County are requiring demolition of the structure.
“Once the ownership transfers, the new owners will get a 60-day extension to address the deterioration of the building, so there is that sense of urgency on that aspect of the project,” said Crawford County Administrator Paul Compo.
An asbestos survey, abatement, and building demolition will be required upon sale of the property.
These developments are pre-approved activities under a Brownfield project and will be required to proceed prior to the Combined Brownfield Work Plan approval.
The Crawford County Brownfield Authority Board has approved a $200,000 loan to cover the demolition of the building, any remediation cost to clean up contamination on the property, and other eligible costs.
The loan will be paid back through Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which are taxes captured from current property values up to the increased property values once redevelopment occurs and the project is completed.
Up to $1 million in community revitalization loans and/or grants are being sought through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to assist with financing the new building project.
Demolition is anticipated to take place in the spring of 2019, with redevelopment slated to begin in the fall of this year.
Additional parking on the north side of the building site, which is now owned by the City of Grayling, is slated to be transferred to the new owners.
“The transfer of the property and the TIF are meant to demonstrate community support, which should allow plans to be approved quicker by the MEDC,” Compo sad.
The future owners are listed as CFK Investors of Grayling, an assignee of Exit 244, LLC, according to the Brownfield Project application.
Compo said he did not know the names of the investors. However, according to the Brownfield application form, the key project contacts include: Chemical Bank; William Carey of the Carey and Jaskowski Law Firm based in Grayling; April Hehir, project manager for ATC Group Services, which has an office in Grayling; BauerLatoza Studio Architecture and Planning based in Chicago; and Perrin Construction.
The total project is an $8.6 million investment, with $400,000 to purchase the land, $8 million for new construction and site improvements and $200,000 for the Brownfield remediation costs.
Once the project is completed, the taxable value for the property is estimated to be $3 million.
The completion date for the project is scheduled for the spring of 2020.