Blocked construction projects see new signs of life


Will long-standing hotel developments in the Township of East Bay Charter move forward? Why was Milliken Street closed for road works this week, when construction work has already closed the street for several days this summer? What’s the plan for the West End Beach parking lot, which has become a seemingly permanent hotbed of multiple barriers and orange barrels? These are just a few of the question marks related to construction in and around Traverse City at the moment. The teleprinter tracks the answers.

East Bay Hotels
In March 2018, The teleprinter announced the news that a pair of developers are planning to build a trio of new hotels along US-31 in East Bay Township. Two of the hotels, as well as a brand new restaurant / retail space, were planned for the old site of Pebble Brook Adventure Park, the other for a plot further west, between the Hampton Inn and the Keith J. Charters Traverse City State. Park campsite.

More than three and a half years later, the two lots are vacant, but actions on one of the sites could take place next spring. According to Claire Karner, Director of Planning and Zoning for the Township of East Bay, the Ann Arbor-based developer of the project next to Hopscotch reached out to the township this week to resume conversations about the development.

“Their sitemap has expired,” Karner said of the developer – formerly known as Stellar Hospitality, now called Premier Hospitality. “So we emailed them and said, ‘You have to come back to the township if you want to move forward with this development. “In fact, we didn’t hear from them until [Wednesday], but they contacted us and told us they wanted to reapply for a sitemap review.

This exchange ends a long radio silence between the Township of East Bay and Premier Hospitality. In past conversations with The Ticker, Karner had indicated that no one in the township was sure of the progress of the project.

Less than 24 hours after touching the base with Karner, The teleprinter received a message from Premier Hospitality vice president Jonathan Azer offering an update. Azer says development plans are still largely the same as in March 2018. One hotel will be a Residence Inn by Marriott with six floors and 123 rooms; the other will be a Staybridge Suites by IHG with six floors and 122 rooms. The property will also include an 8,692 square foot restaurant / retail space with five units, including one with drive-thru.

“We were ready to innovate and the funding was available,” Azer said of the development. “Then COVID hit. Obviously, the hospitality industry has suffered a lot. We kept our hotels open, but it was very, very difficult to stay alive. And we survived, but the financial landscape just wasn’t available [to start new projects], and it’s still a bit hard. But things are opening up, business is picking up – slowly but surely – and some markets have just done phenomenal deals. I really think Traverse City is one of them.

Premier Hospitality “now expects the excavators to hit the ground in early spring 2022”. Azer expects the full project to take around 24 months, but says work will be phased in so that one hotel can be completed and opened before construction on the other begins.

Premier Hospitality currently has hotels or upcoming developments in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Okemos. This project will mark the company’s first foray into Traverse City.

When it comes to ownership between Hampton Inn and State Park, plans for a hotel fell through after the developer behind the project died. The property has been listed for sale at a price of $ 3.5 million since October 2020. Karner says the township has “spoken with some developers, some potential candidates” who have considered the property for potential projects, “but we don’t ‘got nothing. formal submitted to the municipality.

Karner confirms that things are progressing for a fourth hotel project in the township: the 92-unit Avid hotel planned for the former Wendy’s property on US-31. “This project was approved by a review of the site plan by the planning committee,” she said.

Closure of Milliken Avenue
In August, Milliken Street was closed for four days while contractors from DTE Energy worked to replace obsolete gas lines in the area. As the road reopened after the initial closure on August 9-12, work was visibly incomplete. Work resumed this week with the road closed again to two lanes of traffic near the intersection of Eastern Avenue.

According to John McWethy, utility deputy for the City of Traverse City, the work is again “being done by a contractor working for DTE” and is the completion of the same project that closed the road in August.

“Work started earlier this summer and came to a halt because they couldn’t get the proper materials for completion,” McWethy said. “I have been informed by the contractor that he intends to reopen the road by October 22.”

West beach
Erosion at West End Beach, a product of high water levels in Grand Traverse Bay in recent years, has caused parts of the beach parking lot to collapse. As the city has placed several barriers and orange barrels in the lot, however – eliminating some parking and warning visitors of unstable pavement – some residents have wondered what the long-term plan for the park might be. from the city.

According to Mitchell Treadwell, a member of the City of Traverse Parks and Recreation Commission, the commission’s discussions over the ruined West End Beach parking lot date back to August 2019.

“At that time, it was decided that installing limestone blocks would be an appropriate temporary solution to slow or stop the rate of further erosion,” Treadwell said. “Since then, no additional parking space has been lost. However, West End Beach is one of the parks for which renovations and upgrades are planned through allocations approved by voters in the Brown Bridge Trust Fund. While these improvements focus primarily on replacing – and potentially relocating – the washroom building, other aspects of the park, including the parking lot and access aisle, could also be reconfigured. As such, there are no plans to rebuild the parking lot into its current layout in the near future, especially since there is a large parking lot in a city park just across from Grandview Parkway.
Treadwell says the “proposed redevelopments” of the parking lot would likely reduce the parking area anyway. The redesigned parking lot would mainly consist of “disabled or temporary disabled checkpoints”, with the city encouraging most beach users to park across the street. The idea, Treadwell notes, is that turning the parking lot into a drop-off area could help make the park “more resistant to future high water levels.”

“Even at ‘full capacity’ West End Beach only had 25 parking spaces, which is insufficient for so many people who use this park for much of the summer,” Treadwell said. The teleprinter.

Green mitten
A local construction project that will soon cross the finish line? The new Green Mitt car wash on US-31 in the Township of East Bay. The company has announced that it will host its grand public opening on October 25 and will offer free car washes the week of October 25 to 29. Hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

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