Fairfield Inn and Suites developer places deposit on riverside property

Courtesy Photo A Fairfield Inn and Suites similar to the one shown in Nashville, Tennessee, is proposed for downtown Alpena. The new hotel, if constructed, would have parking on the ground level and four stories of rooms and other amenities.

ALPENA — The developer who intends to build a Fairfield Inn and Suites in downtown Alpena has placed a deposit on the riverside property and has six months to finalize the purchase of the land from Target Alpena.

Kevin Robbins, commercial mortgage consultant for Baypoint Financial Services Inc, said the next steps in the project is to complete environmental reviews of the land and to have a geological study done to make sure the property is viable to construct the five-story hotel that will have about 70 rooms.

Robbins said Baypoint is working hand-in-hand with another developer, Rick Patel, who owns the Ramada Inn in Alpena, Marriott International, as well as city officials to make the hotel a reality.

The hotel, which will have parking on the ground-level and four floors of lodging and other amenities, would face Water Street, and have many amenities, including a fitness center, a market, a hot breakfast and coffee bar and potentially up to three outdoor patio areas including one on the second floor.

The site plans can be amended as cost estimates are received, and geological data comes in, Robbins said.

Robbins said the proposed project has come together quickly, saying most of the heavy lifting thus far has been done in about the last two months. He said all involved are excited about the prospects of the new hotel in Alpena and the location downtown.

“This project and the site are very attractive to Marriott,” Robbins said. “We know there are some environmental issues, but we feel we have a pretty good grasp on what they are from previous studies.”

Robbins said depending on the degree of environmental issues, it is possible the developers could request a Brownfield tax exemption from the city to help reimburse it for the cost of any cleanup or remediation that may be needed.

A Brownfield property is described by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy as a property in which the redevelopment or reuse of the property may be complicated by the presence or perception of contamination. Revitalizing and redeveloping these properties protects the environment, reuses existing infrastructure.

The city and state have utilized Brownfield incentives in the past to help businesses like the Holiday Inn Express and Austin Brothers Beer Company become realities.

Because of the environmental and geological work needed at the site, and any assistance the developers may need from the city, Robbins said it is possible the six-month could be extended until all the puzzle pieces are in place.

Robbins said other possible alterations to the site are also being considered. He said it is yet to be determined on where on the property the building would be built, and once that is determined, simple things like moving power lines might be needed.

“We need to find out if the building will butt up closer to the street, or to the river,” he said. “We might have to rearrange things just a little.”

Although things are moving rapidly now, it doesn’t mean groundbreaking is imminent. Robbins said the best-case-scenario is that it could happen in the spring, but he suspects the summer or fall is a more feasible goal.


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