BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — The redevelopment of downtown Battle Creek’s McCamly Plaza Hotel is getting state support.
On Tuesday morning, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation approved a Michigan Community Revitalization Program loan of up to $7.5 million for redeveloping the 15-story hotel at 50 Capital Ave. into a DoubleTree by Hilton.
“The CRP program that the state of Michigan provides is one of the best tools in our toolbox and I’m here to advocate for it, to grow it to expand it and do whatever you can. This is an awesome program. We wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing without this program,” Joe Sobieralski, president and CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited, said.
Faye Nelson with project partner W.K. Kellogg Foundation said the new 239-room hotel will function much like Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. The owners plan to leverage the hotel for on-the-job training programs and educational opportunities in partnership with Grand Valley State University, Kellogg Community College, Battle Creek Public Schools and others.
Stakeholders say the $45 million investment will fill the need for a high-quality hotel in Battle Creek to serve Fortune 500 companies in the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The city currently lacks a hotel that’s rated four stars or higher.
“We see this as a project that addresses an industry that has been most hard hit by the pandemic. And it’s an important part of our local economy as well as our state… It’s important that we capture those overnight stays downtown to continue to increase the viability of our downtown,” Battle Creek City Manager Rebecca Fleury said.
The 180,000-square-foot hotel is one of the largest buildings in downtown Battle Creek. It is connected to the Kellogg Arena, a 6,000-person event venue. Code issues forced the hotel to close in 2019. The MEDC says it was declared a public nuisance because of its inadequate fire suppression system.
About a year later, economic development group Battle Creek Unlimited took control of the hotel via 50 Capital Ave Development Corporation. The city of Battle Creek, Calhoun County and several private organizations have contributed $16 million to the project.
“It is one of our iconic buildings in the downtown and … we want to do all we can to support its revitalization. It’s one of the first impressions visitors have to downtown Battle Creek and is certainly a central convening point for gatherings for locals and for visitors,” Fleury said.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation contributed $11 million to the project. Nelson said it’s one of the organization’s largest investments if its kind.
“Battle Creek is our home and we are very supportive of this project,” she said.
The hotel is expected to create 165 full-time equivalent jobs. Developers now expect the new Doubletree by Hilton to be complete around fall 2023.