Out with the old, in with the new

Commission approves brownfield agreement

Former UP Health System hospital buildings on College Avenue in Marquette are pictured. The Marquette City Commission approved a Brownfield Reimbursement Agreement with the NMU Foundation so all entities involved with the demolition could be reimbursed for the project. (Journal photo by Randy Crouch


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — The Marquette City Commission took another step toward the demolition of the former Marquette General Hospital Monday by unanimously approving a brownfield reimbursement agreement.

The agreement is between the Northern Michigan University Foundation and the city of Marquette and is a way to ensure that all of the entities involved with the demolition of the former hospital will be reimbursed for any costs associated with the project.

“We’ve been working the issue for some time. I think the basics of it are well known by the community as well as the commission and I heartily endorse the motion to proceed,” said Commissioner Frederick Stonehouse.

Commissioners said that this is just another step in a process that has been ongoing.

“This is the same thing we’ve been working towards for months, if not over a year at this point,” said Commissioner Jenna Smith. “Months and months to push this through and make sure we’re able to tear down that ugly building in the middle of our city and hopefully have some interesting development there soon.”

According to the block grant agreement, the city anticipates an $8 million Community Development Block Grant for blight elimination, including lead and asbestos abatement and demolition of the building.

In addition, the NMU Foundation recieved an $8 million Blight Elimination Grant through the Michigan Land Bank Authority.

The total for demolition work is expected to cost roughly $20.5 million.

Tax increment revenue captured from future developments on the site will be used for the reimbursements, and the city of Marquette will be reimbursed first according to the agreement.

An economic feasibility analysis shows the area could support an estimated $166 million mixed-use development including a wide range of housing, retail and commercial space, the foundation website states.

The commission also approved a resolution of intent to sell the former Cliffs-Dow site during the meeting.

The resolution suspends negotiations between the city and the Veridea Group LLC and moves forward with an intent to sell the property to the State of Michigan to be the location of the replacement for the aging D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans.

Veridea Group and the city of Marquette had previously been in discussions over the site, after the city adopted a resolution to sell agreement with the Marquette-based developer.

“Veridea has been a good partner for the city on a number of projects. This is nothing negative, this is really an opportunity that Veridea and the city realize should be pursued and pursued aggressively,” Stonehouse said.

The State of Michigan allocated $34.2 million from the 2022 state budget to replace the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans. The state is also seeking an additional $63.6 million from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for the project.

Randy Crouch can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. His email address is rcrouch@miningjournal.net.


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