MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – An agreement has now been settled and the property has officially been transferred to the NMU Foundation, and a partnership with The Veridea Group for future development moving forward.
This morning The Northern Michigan University Foundation held a press conference at The Northern Center to announce the future of the former hospital property on College Ave: housing.
Speakers included NMU Foundation board of trustees president John List and their CEO Brad Canale, Tonya Darner the COO of The UP-Health System – Marquette, and Karen Kovacs City Manager, all of whom are partners in the development of the project.
It’s been over a year since talks began within the NMU foundation about obtaining the property and not the discussion of demolition is the foundation’s main concern. The foundation has obtained the site from Duke LifePoint and UP Health System Marquette, once a contractor is secured for the demolition of the site, then The Veridea Group will step in to help plan the next steps.
Community forums were held at the beginning of the year to hear community concerns and ideas about what Marquette needs most from the new property, and the majority declared housing is needed the most.
The first step is to demolish the current structures, the search for a private contractor is still underway, but the foundation hopes to begin internal demolition, waste disposal, and asbestos cleanup on the property as early as January 2023 for structural demolition to begin in the spring.
The long-term timeline for the plan is anywhere from 6-8 years, with 18 months of demolition, and potentially years of construction to build the new housing on the property, with demolition alone expected to cost $18-20 million. Funding has been secured from the community development block grant program for the property plans.
Currently, the focus is on the relocation of the workers still currently housed within the hospital property before any demolition can begin.
The foundation wants to develop a plan to serve the community’s needs, with the current plan to construct more housing, the details are still being decided as they develop a plan with the city to decide what is needed most.
Highlights of the plan include rental properties, high-density apartments or condos, as well as pedestrian-friendly walkways to create more connectivity to the 3rd street businesses.
As more information is developed and released, the foundation and its partners will be updating the community on the project’s new website: WWW.RenewCollegeAveMQT.org
In July, State Representative Sara Cambensy (D- 109) asked Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to investigate whether there was a conflict of interest in the proposed redevelopment of the site after the state budget included $8 million for the project.
Earlier this month, the AG’s office declined to investigate or issue an opinion on the matter, saying in part, “the Attorney General [has] concluded that this office’s resources will best serve the interests of the people of the State of Michigan by responding to opinion requests that involve the operation of state government.” You can read more here: Michigan AG declines to investigate, issue opinion on plans for former hospital property » WZMQ 19 News | CBS | MeTV Marquette
This is a developing story. WZMQ 19 News will continue to provide updates as they become available.