Updated — Veridea selected for hospital redevelopment

Jenna Smith, mayor, city of Marquette

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University Foundation today announced Marquette-based real estate developer Veridea Group as master developer to lead the ultimate redevelopment of the former Marquette General Hospital site on College Avenue, adjacent to NMU’s campus, according to a university foundation press release.

“The NMU Foundation is gratified to have assembled the partners and resources necessary to bring this transformational opportunity to fruition,” said John List, president of the Northern Michigan University Foundation Board of Trustees. “When our committee issued the (request for qualifications) on a national scale in March, we were focused on attracting an experienced developer partner holding the financial capability to perform, a proven record of success working in communities like Marquette, and a commitment to completing the entire project vision over a five- to eight – year build schedule.

“We are pleased to have Veridea Group as a partner that exceeds these critical elements while also displaying a longstanding commitment to community building in Marquette and throughout the Upper Peninsula.”

Special committees from both the NMU Foundation Board of Trustees and the Marquette City Commission consulted on the (request for qualifications) review and selection process. Staff from the foundation and city have convened weekly to address common objectives for the project, including:

– Defraying costs associated with site preparation and demolition of obsolete structures;

– Public infrastructure development, including reconstruction of College Avenue and other important transitions between the campus and community; and

– Other policy goals outlined in the memorandum of understanding executed between the city, foundation and the Marquette Brownfield Redevelopment Authority on March 17.

Parallel to its process of identifying and selecting a qualified master developer partner, the NMU Foundation has been working collaboratively with the city of Marquette, Marquette Brownfield Development Authority and Michigan Economic Development Corporation to identify public resources required for demolition and site preparation, which is the critical barrier for redevelopment.

One resource is the framework for a brownfield redevelopment plan, which would enable reimbursement of eligible expenses for demolition, infrastructure development and other activities through tax increment financing as well as additional investments in site demolition pending all state and local approvals.

“We are excited about the prospect of this transformational development to strengthen the vitality and economic opportunity in Marquette,” said Jen Nelson, chief operating officer at the MEDC. “We appreciate working with the NMU Foundation and city on shared community objectives here in Marquette and coming together to solve the unique challenges and barriers to redevelopment of the former hospital site next to NMU’s campus. MEDC is committed to being a strong partner in activities to enable the viability of this community-driven project.”

MEDC has been a partner in Marquette’s redevelopment efforts since 2017 through its participation and 2021 certification in the Redevelopment Ready Communities program. The community’s work through the RRC program in adopting a uniformed land development code, adoption of the first-ever economic development strategy and updates to the downtown vision plan have laid the groundwork to support redevelopment efforts such as the former Marquette hospital site that will continue to enhance the sense of vibrancy and place in Marquette.

“The development of the old hospital would be transformational in the city of Marquette, adding more vibrancy to the heart of our city,” said Jenna Smith, mayor of Marquette. “The NMU Foundation has done an incredible amount of work to leverage connections with important partners to bring this project together. I am looking forward to the special meeting of the Marquette City Commission on Monday, May 16, at 5:15 p.m. to discuss next steps and inform the public regarding the proposed brownfield plan for demolition costs and to pay for the reconstruction of College Avenue.”


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