IM hotel could signal other development

AN ARCHITECT’S RENDERING shows a TownPlace Suites by Marriott hotel, similar to one that will be built next year in Iron Mountain. Modifications will be made to the design of the four-story, 95-room hotel, said Michele Thomas, director of development for Marquette-based Veridea Group.

IRON MOUNTAIN — Construction next year of a 95-room hotel in downtown Iron Mountain may be followed by other improvements, the city council learned Monday.

“This is the first of what we hope will be a multi-phase project,” said Michele Thomas, director of development for Marquette-based Veridea Group, one of the partners in the TownPlace Suites by Marriott hotel. “We have to do the first phase first.”

The council — after hearing no public objections — approved a 10-year property tax abatement for the hotel under its Commercial Rehabilitation Exemption Certificate program. The new investment will be exempt from all taxes except school operating and the state education tax for 10 years, beginning in 2022.

The land itself remains subject to taxes; the 10-year exemption for improvements is the maximum allowed, City Manager Jordan Stanchina said.

“It’s a great deal for the downtown,” said Mayor Dale Alessandrini, noting the goal of the CREC program is to spark investment and growth.

Iron Mountain businessman David Brule Jr. is a partner in the IMT Lodging project, with construction to begin this spring at the site of the former Timbers Motor Lodge at 200 S. Stephenson Ave.

Research shows Iron Mountain is losing business travelers to the Green Bay, Wis., area, Thomas told the council. “We hope to capture some of that for you,” she said.

The four-story, all-suite hotel will include full kitchens in each unit to serve extended-stay leisure and business travelers. “It will be a new prototype for Marriott,” Thomas said.

The planned structure includes a meeting room of about 1,000 square feet, but no banquet facility, she said. It will have more than 100 parking spaces, with access from Brown and Ludington streets.

Following the abatement period, the property is expected to show a taxable value of at least $3 million, Stanchina said.

The $16 million project, which will be the seventh hotel built by Veridea, is expected to produce 100 construction jobs and 30 permanent jobs, the majority of them full-time, Thomas said.

In an earlier press release, Veridea Group CEO Robert Mahaney thanked the city for its support.

“It has made a huge difference in our ability to launch construction during these challenging times for the hospitality industry,” he said. “We believe that the area is poised for growth and this new hotel will help spur that growth.”

The former Timbers Motor Lodge, a 53-room hotel, stood empty almost a decade before being demolished and removed in November 2020. The work was done under the direction of Eden Property Collection of Iron Mountain, which purchased the site in December 2019.

In other action Monday, the city council:

— Scheduled a public hearing for 6 p.m. Nov. 15 on a request from Daniel Mitchell to rezone vacant land south of Moon Lake and Sunset Drive from residential to light industrial to allow a prospective new owner to erect storage units. If the rezoning is approved, Stanchina said, the designation could allow a number of uses, such as a machine shop. The planning commission discussed the request Oct. 11 and forwarded it to the council without a recommendation. Neighboring property owners within 300 feet will be notified of the hearing. “We’ll see what residents come and what they say,” Alessandrini said. Written comments will be accepted as well, he noted.

— Heard Stanchina report that Green For Life Environmental’s acquisition of Great American Disposal won’t result in any immediate changes in trash pickup services. A seven-year contract with GAD approved in 2017 remains in place.

— At the request of council member Bill Revord, observed a moment of silence in memory of former U.S. Rep. Daniel Benishek, a Republican from Crystal Falls who served three terms in the U.S. House, and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.


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