Battle Creek Unlimited Secures Critical Financing for McCamly Hotel Renovation

Battle Creek Unlimited Secures Critical Financing for McCamly Hotel Renovation

The MEDC will provide a $7.5 million loan from the Michigan Community Revitalization Program

BATTLE CREEK, Mich.—Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) has secured a critical piece of financing for its renovation of the former McCamly Plaza Hotel. On Tuesday, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced that the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved $7.5 million in assistance from the Michigan Community Revitalization Program (MCRP).

The program promotes community revitalization and provides gap funding for projects that are either contaminated (facility), blighted, functionally obsolete, or historic resources. The MCRP award for the McCamly Hotel renovation is in the form of a performance-based loan, to be repaid at 1 percent interest.

The property originally opened in 1982 as the Stouffer Hotel. The hotel is in the heart of downtown Battle Creek, one block from the global headquarters of the Kellogg Company. It is adjacent to the Kellogg Arena, a 6,200-seat multi-purpose venue.

The facility is being converted into a DoubleTree by Hilton. When complete, it will feature 239 guest rooms; a new restaurant, beer garden, and kitchen; and a new ballroom and conference facilities. The exterior of the building is being refreshed and will have a new entrance, new windows, and an updated façade. All the hotel mechanical systems are being replaced, including the HVAC, boilers, and elevators. The project is expected to cost $59 million and will create 165 new jobs.

Along with the MCRP award, local partners have pledged nearly $30 million to the hotel project and adjacent development. Commitments include:

·      Battle Creek Unlimited Cash & Other Grants $1,000,000+
·      Bronson Battle Creek Hospital $200,000
·      Calhoun County (American Rescue Plan Act funds) $2,000,000
·      Calhoun County Visitor Bureau $400,000
·      City of Battle Creek (American Rescue Plan Act funds) $2,500,000
·      Consumers Energy Foundation $250,000
·      Kellogg Company $300,000
·      Miller Foundation $1,000,000
·      State of Michigan (General Fund Appropriation) $2,000,000
·      W.K. Kellogg Foundation $20,000,000

In addition, the Battle Creek City Commission approved an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax abatement valued at $3.23 million.

As a part of the project, BCU is working with Grand Valley State University and Kellogg Community College to create a restaurant and hospitality career program. The program will provide on-the-job training and enable students to build meaningful careers in the hospitality sector.

Erick Stewart, Chair of BCU’s Board of Directors, said, “The McCamly Hotel has played a vital role in Battle Creek for 40 years. The facility has hosted countless weddings, proms, conferences, and business meetings. With these sweeping renovations, it will once again be the premiere hotel and conference facility in the region. When the hotel reopens next year, it will be something that everyone in Battle Creek will be proud of.”

BCU President & CEO Joe Sobieralski said, “This is the latest piece in BCU’s ongoing effort to revitalize downtown. This project will have a transformative impact on Battle Creek and will bring new opportunities to our community. We are grateful to our community partners, the State of Michigan, and the MEDC for supporting our vision for Battle Creek.”

To see a video of the plan for the hotel, visit https://streamable.com/ndijyi.

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ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED

Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation.

MEDIA CONTACT

Joe Sobieralski

President & CEO

Battle Creek Unlimited

TEL 269-962-7526

BCU’s Spring 2022 Newsletter

BCU is pleased to share its Spring 2022 Quarterly Newsletter 

This edition includes:

    BCU Unveils Plan for McCamly Hotel

    Bleistahl, Duncan Aviation Announce Expansions

    BASF Toda America CEO Recognized

    The Milton Honored for Historic Preservation

    Watkins Road Upgrades Continue

….plus other news and information. The newsletter is available to view as a PDF here.

Our goal is to provide useful information to people who live and/or work in Battle Creek. We welcome your feedback and story ideas. Email your comments to BCUNewsletter@bcunlimited.org. You can also follow BCU on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. 

BCU Unveils Plan for Former McCamly Plaza Hotel and McCamly Place

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) and its affiliate, 50 Capital Ave Development Corp., have unveiled plans and a timeline for renovation of the former McCamly Plaza Hotel and adjacent McCamly Place.

“We are so excited to return this historic property to productive use,” said Joe Sobieralski, president and CEO of BCU. “Having a hotel of this size and magnitude will significantly contribute to the economic vitality of downtown Battle Creek and the entire city. We cannot thank our partners and contributors enough for their continued support and generosity. This multi-faceted project will be a showpiece for our great city and will once again make Battle Creek a destination for entertainment and events.”

Plans call for a $59 million overhaul of the 265,000-square foot complex. The renovations will include complete upgrades to the mechanical and HVAC systems, and five new elevators. The guest rooms will be all brand new, as will be the lobby, ballroom, and meeting spaces. The hotel will have a new restaurant with a farm-to-table menu, a new bar and beer garden, and new kitchen. The buildings will also receive new roofs, high efficiency windows, and a refreshed exterior. The facility will offer over 24,000 square feet of modern meeting space of various sizes and configurations. The hotel’s sixteenth floor will feature a cocktail lounge with panoramic views of the city, complemented by three meeting spaces that can be configured for one large event.

When done, the hotel will have 180,000 square feet of space and 239 guest rooms. The renovated hotel will operate as a DoubleTree by Hilton and be managed by 6PM Hospitality Partners. The hotel is expected to reopen in the third quarter of 2023.

The hotel will include a workforce training/educational component for the anticipated 165 operational jobs. This will be the first teaching hotel of its kind in the region. BCU will work closely with its local/regional workforce and educational partners to create meaningful training and career opportunities for local residents and youth.

“We are excited to engage with our workforce and educational partners in the coming months, as we begin laying the foundations for the workforce/educational components of the project,” Sobieralski said.

The 85,000-square foot McCamly Place, which is separate from the hotel, will be demolished. Plans call for building approximately 19,745 square feet of new space. Demolition will not include Festival Market Square. The new space will include a ticket office for the Kellogg Arena, pre-function/exhibitor space, bathrooms, a new restaurant, and extension of the hotel lobby. It will also add outdoor green space to complement the existing Festival Market Square structure, located in the heart of downtown Battle Creek. Demolition is scheduled to begin in April 2022.

A video illustrating the proposed plans can be found here: https://streamable.com/ndijyi

BCU is in the final stages of financing the project. This includes working with senior lenders and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Nearly $30 million in grants have already been secured. Generous contributions have been made from the following organizations: W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Miller Foundation; State of Michigan; City of Battle Creek American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA); Calhoun County ARPA; Kellogg Company; Calhoun County Visitors and Convention Bureau; Consumers Energy Foundation; Bronson Battle Creek Community Hospital-Community Partners; and BCU.

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ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED

Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, nonprofit corporation that serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation.

Duncan Aviation Announces Expansion Plans in Battle Creek

LINCOLN, Neb. — Duncan Aviation today announced plans to build additional hangar space at its existing MRO locations in Battle Creek, Michigan (BTL), and Lincoln, Nebraska (LNK).

“The demand for the safety and flexibility that business aviation travel provides has continued to increase, as has the average size of business aircraft,” says Jeff Lake, President of Duncan Aviation. “This results in increased demand for the hangar space required to complete requested airframe, engine, interior, paint and avionics modifications for the business aircraft fleet. Looking to the future, we know that in order to meet current customer requests and needs, Duncan Aviation will need more hangar facilities.”

The company is working with long-time partner Tectonic Management Group and is using the latest in green construction technologies to build at both locations a 46,000-square-foot hangar with 32-foot-high hangar doors and an additional 62,000-square-foot, two-floor wing for storage and backshops. The total expected investment for both LNK and BTL is approximately $66 million.

“Duncan Aviation has consistently reinvested at least 80 percent of its profits back into the company and its team members in the form of facility expansions and capital improvements,” Lake says.

Sustainability features for the new hangars and buildings include light harvesting, radiant floor heating with energy-efficient boilers, LED lighting fixtures with sensors and automatic dimming, and more. Frank Jacobsen, Vice President with Tectonic, says the buildings and systems will perform more than 25% better than standard energy codes.

Site preparation will be started this spring in both Battle Creek and Lincoln with completion in Michigan expected in the summer of 2023 and in Nebraska in the fall of 2023, just a few months later.

When construction is complete, Duncan Aviation will have 769,000 square feet of hangar space and shop, office, and storage areas in Lincoln. The Battle Creek location will have 443,000 square feet of hangar, office, shop, and storage space.

The increased footprint for aircraft projects will require the addition of 65 to 75 team members at each location over a five-year period, Lake says. Those jobs will include airframe technicians as well as positions in interior, installations, engine, paint, and the support shops.

Mike Minchow, Chief Operating Officer of Duncan Aviation’s Lincoln location, says the new hangars will be the largest Duncan Aviation has built to-date. “We are excited not only to be building additional hangars to give us more room and greater flexibility in the near term but to continue to grow with where the market is headed both in aircraft size and the number of inspections expected in the future. In addition, we are excited to create up to 75 career opportunities for new team members in Lincoln and Battle Creek, and we have already started to recruit team members to fill the additional positions.”

Andy Richards, Chief Operating Officer of Duncan Aviation’s Battle Creek location, says the expansion is a direct result of the excellent service and support operators have received.

“Over the past 66 years, Duncan Aviation has grown an increasingly loyal and diverse customer base that depends on the quality service and friendly customer experience provided by our teams,” Richards says. “The expansion will increase our ability to attract even more customers to the Duncan Aviation family.”

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ABOUT DUNCAN AVIATION

Duncan Aviation is an aircraft service provider supporting the aviation needs of business aircraft operators, government agencies, and other aircraft service providers. Services include major and minor airframe inspections, engine maintenance, major retrofits for cabin and cockpit avionics systems, full paint and interior services, engineering and certification services, fabrication and manufacturing services, and preowned aircraft sales and acquisitions. Duncan Aviation also has international aircraft components solutions experts available 24/7/365 at +1 402.475.4125 who can handle any aircraft system problem with immediate exchanges, rotables, loaners or avionics/instrument/accessory repairs and overhauls. Complete service facilities are located in Battle Creek, Michigan; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Provo, Utah. Duncan Aviation also has dozens of other facilities strategically located throughout the United States to provide customers with scheduled regional support and the quickest response possible to avionics, engine and airframe Aircraft On Ground (AOG) situations.

BCU’s Winter 2022 Newsletter

BCU is pleased to share its Winter 2022 Quarterly Newsletter 

This edition includes:

    Torti Taco Opens Downtown

    Washington Heights Entrepreneurial Fund Awards $2M in Grants

    New Tool Connects Manufacturers and Suppliers

    Major Construction Projects Coming Soon

    Michigan, Ontario Partner on UAS

….plus other news and information. The newsletter is available to view as a PDF here.

Our goal is to provide useful information to people who live and/or work in Battle Creek. We welcome your feedback and story ideas. Email your comments to BCUNewsletter@bcunlimited.org. You can also follow Battle Creek Unlimited on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Washington Heights Entrepreneurial Fund Awards $2 Million in Business Support to 11 BIPOC-led Battle Creek Organizations

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The Washington Heights Entrepreneurial Fund (WHEF) is bolstering the community and an ambitious group of entrepreneurs-of-color through the distribution of $2 million in business support targeted at the Washington Heights neighborhood.  Award recipients receive training, grants and low-interest loans for business and real estate development projects.

“We are truly grateful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for this opportunity, and we are grateful for our incredibly dedicated and focused grantees and the team that reviewed and selected them,” said Joe Sobieralski, President and CEO of BCU. “These recipients have put in months of hard work to get to this stage. We’re delighted to see them accelerate and we can’t wait to see the results.”

The $2 million program, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, was established by Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) in partnership with New Level Sports Ministries (NLSM). The fund prioritizes low-to-middle income Black, Hispanic, and Burmese individuals, who have traditionally had limited access to capital. Eleven projects will receive funding to support businesses ranging from a counseling center to a funeral home to an urban arts incubator.

“This award is so important because it gives us a platform to expand on what we’ve already been doing,” said grantee Jaziel Pugh, founder of Urban Arts Incubator. “This is important for my business as well as Battle Creek because all businesses will benefit from having a space to be creative.”

WHEF projects were awarded after an initial cohort of applicants completed several months of business classes. The free courses, offered by the Michigan Small Business Development Center, helped participants strengthen their business plans and cash flow projections, positioning their business for sustainable growth.  Washington Heights was selected because it is adjacent to downtown Battle Creek, the focal point of much recent redevelopment, and at 67% of the population, Washington Heights is the largest concentration of Black residents in Battle Creek.

“Historically, communities of color have been shut out of business loans and financing,” said Pastor Chris McCoy of New Level Sports Ministries. “This program is an important step in bringing opportunity to Black, Hispanic and Burmese entrepreneurs. It will help level the playing field for business owners and improve the Washington Heights community.”

Projects fall under real estate or business categories. Applicants were eligible for grants of up to $300,000 for real estate-only improvements. Business applicants were eligible for low-interest loans of up to $150,000, with the possibility of forgiveness, for viable startups and existing businesses. A single applicant could be funded in both areas, but total grants will not exceed $350,000.

“This fund is transformative for the entrepreneurial community of Battle Creek,” said Devon Wilson, founder of Sunlight Gardens. “This program empowers entrepreneurs with the skills and resources they need to be successful.”

Hexxon Villa, founder of Hexx Design was provided with support to develop an expansion plan for his business. “This grant will allow us to create an affordable pricing model so we can provide services for those who need it the most,” he said. “This program provides entrepreneurs at any stage with the tools to reach the next level.”

The list of 2022 WHEF Recipients includes:

  • Brilliant Minds Family Counseling – Keith Matthews, Brook-Lyn Glass
  • Sherrill Cotton Funeral & Cremation – Sherrill Cotton
  • Hexx Design Co – Hexxon Villa, Juliet Villa, David Niniz, Javier Fortoso Jr.
  • The Link – Tonesha Heath
  • New Level Church – Dr. Gregory Dotson
  • Simply Sensational Berries – Markeeta Haddley, Craig Owens
  • Sunlight Gardens – Devon Wilson
  • Tommy & Co – Marcus Willis
  • Urban Arts Incubator – Taylor McCoy, Jaziel Pugh, Iroham Ekeledo, Carolyn Washington, Marcus Ervin
  • VIATAG – Jeffrey Cotton
  • West End Kitchen – Sidney Ekeledo, Treione Barlow

“The interest in this program has been overwhelming,” Sobieralski said. “The fund is a first of its kind, and we hope its’ demonstrated success will change the dynamics for those who have been traditionally excluded from conventional business development practices.”

“This grant will allow us to create an affordable pricing model so we can provide services for those who need it the most,” said Hexxon Villa, founder of Hexx Design Co. “This program provides entrepreneurs at any stages with the tools to reach the next level. We are extremely grateful to have been a part of the first class.”

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ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED

Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, nonprofit corporation that serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation.

ABOUT NEW LEVEL SPORTS MINISTRIES

Established in 2001, New Level Sports Ministries is a nonprofit, youth support-service committed to developing purpose-driven individuals who will be highly effective in all aspects of life. Our success is achieved by utilizing five foundational pillars: education, personal growth, arts, industry, and sports. Over the past 20 years, New Level Sports Ministries has served over 17,000 urban youths and their families. We believe every young person, despite his or her background, can develop and achieve their goals and dreams.

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