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.

###

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.”

###

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.”

###

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.

John Hughes joins Battle Creek Unlimited as economic development specialist

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is pleased to announce the addition of John Hughes to its team. Hughes will further BCU’s efforts in business retention, expansion, and workforce development. As an economic development specialist, Hughes will collaborate alongside the BCU team as it continues to generate jobs and investment in Battle Creek.

Hughes brings experience in the industrial and commercial real estate industries. Most recently, Hughes held the position of EQS manager and lead trainer for GCI located in Coldwater, Mich. Prior to GCI, Hughes spent time working in the Battle Creek area as a commercial sales advisor for Waterland Properties where he gained local market knowledge working closely with businesses and the community.

Hughes is currently furthering his education in business management at Kellogg Community College.

State Senator John Bizon, M.D., R-Battle Creek secures $2 million in state funding toward major renovation of McCamly Plaza Hotel in downtown Battle Creek

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is pleased to announce a $2 million state investment for the special use of revitalizing McCamly Plaza Hotel, which plans to reopen in 2022.

The Michigan Legislature this week passed the 2022 state budget, which included a one-time $2 million allocation to BCU. Funds will be used toward a $46MM renovation to convert the 239-room hotel into a Hilton DoubleTree. The property makeover will include a new restaurant, façade and entryway, refreshed lobby, conference rooms, gym and pool amenities, lounges, and other mixed-use spaces.

“A flagship hotel is integral to the continued redevelopment in downtown Battle Creek,” said Joe Sobieralski, president and CEO of BCU. “This project will accelerate the economic growth already afoot. We are grateful for support by Sen. Bizon and Rep. Hall and their recognition of this highly leveraged and transformative project in our community that wouldn’t be possible without contributions such as this and among many other community partners. This is just one critical piece of funding among many others.”

State Senator John Bizon, M.D., R-Battle Creek, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is in his sixth year as a legislator, and has worked tirelessly to ensure continued prosperity and revitalization of the downtown Battle Creek business district. It is his pleasure to make the hotel project a priority at the state level.

“When Battle Creek’s downtown hotel closed and the promised plans for a revitalized hotel and conference center fell through, I, like many others in my hometown of Battle Creek, was left wondering how the downtown would survive. Then another layer of uncertainty hit when the state shutdown for months. This generous funding that State Rep. Hall and I were able to secure will have a long-lasting effect in Battle Creek’s city-center for decades to come.”

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has the final authority on approval of the 2022 state budget, which has an October 1 deadline. She could approve the line-item or veto it.

Plans for the new DoubleTree include a teaching-hotel component. BCU is planning to partner with universities, local educational institutions, and workforce partners to establish programs that introduce students and residents to the hospitality industry. The approach provides more career paths and opportunities for upward mobility within the Battle Creek community.

Rep. Matt Hall, R-Marshall, said he’s certain this funding will assist in attracting the business community and people to downtown Battle Creek again.

“This was a top priority for the Battle Creek community. Vibrant attractions and hospitality are needed to attract more people downtown and a top-notch hotel will help the community accomplish this,” Hall said.

Hall continued, “This project was identified as a need by our local economic development and community leaders, and I worked hard with Sen. Bizon to deliver for the people of Battle Creek and people across Calhoun County. I will continue to fight for measures that will help attract people and business to Battle Creek and the surrounding area.”

BCU’s Summer 2021 Newsletter

BCU is pleased to share its Summer 2021 Quarterly Newsletter 

This edition includes:

    Handmap Brewing Grand Opening

    BCU Announces Changes to Board of Directors

    Welcome Consul General Yusuke Shindo

    Dr. Charles Seifert (1933-2021)

    FTZ 43 Update

….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.

Join the BCU Team – Economic Development Specialist

Does making an impact and positioning the community for future growth through economic development intrigue you? Do you enjoy working with companies to understand their opportunities and concerns? Are you a critical thinker with the ability to solve problems? Do you want to work with a dynamic organization that serves a diverse community and is on the upswing by bringing jobs and investments to the Battle Creek Community? Look no further, Battle Creek Unlimited has the job for you. Our work is mission-driven, fulfilling, and fun.

We seek a candidate who is motivated, a team-player, deadline-oriented, and a creative thinker who wants to make a difference. In this cultivating environment, there is an opportunity to learn and grow quickly with the Battle Creek Unlimited team – as you work side by side with energetic business professionals on the forefront of economic development. Remote work systems are in place to allow for flexibility within reason. This job offers excellent benefits and unlimited possibilities. Minimal economic development experience required but preferred.

Job Title: Economic Development Specialist (Exempt-Fulltime)

Job Description:
The job encompasses a wide variety of work, including economic, business and workforce development support services; coordination of projects, programs, and activities in support of the mission; meeting with companies for retention visits; working with city officials, educators, businesses, and workforce development partners to connect resources; assists with managing projects for the tax increment finance authority, brownfield development authority, local development finance authority, and downtown development initiatives; grant writing/fundraising, creates proposals and presentations; researches and compiles demographic and economic data in response to inquiries; meeting coordination; community engagement; and assists with special projects.

Knowledge, Skills, and Qualifications:
• Three (3) years of full-time work experience or a post-secondary resume in a closely related area of business, public relations, or communications.
• Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university is desired unless you have relevant work experience.
• Possess the temperament and flexibility to work effectively in a fast-paced and energetic environment.
• Availability to attend in-person meetings on nights/weekends and to reach the office in cases of emergency.
• Very strong verbal, written, and oral communication skills
• Strong multi-tasking skills, meeting deadlines, and performing under pressure.
• Ability to work both independently and in a collaborative team environment.
• Must be a self-starter, requiring minimal direction for completing assignments.
• Experience with Microsoft Office Suite and Salesforce (CRM) preferred.
• Ability to maintain confidentiality of highly sensitive information. Absolute integrity and discretion are essential.

Pay Range: $55,000 – $70,000 with an excellent benefit package. Desired residency established in the City of Battle Creek within six months. Relocation packages offered.

Deadline to Submit: Please submit resume, cover letter, references to: joinourteam@bcunlimited.org
Resumes are due by July 23, 2021. Interviews will occur in August.

More about the Company:
Battle Creek Unlimited, Inc. (BCU) is a private, nonprofit corporation, serving as the business and economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek. For nearly 50 years, BCU has had a rich history of bringing investments and jobs to the Battle Creek Community. BCU manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park and is engaged in Community/Downtown Development initiatives. BCU is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Visit our website at www.bcunlimited.org.

Join the BCU Team – Economic Development & Innovation Coordinator

Does making an impact and positioning the community for future growth through economic development intrigue you? Looking to launch your post-secondary career? Do you want to work with a dynamic organization that serves a diverse community and is on the upswing by bringing jobs and investments to the Battle Creek Community? Look no further, Battle Creek Unlimited has the job for you. Our work is mission-driven, fulfilling, and fun.

We seek a candidate who is motivated, a team-player, deadline-oriented, and a creative thinker who wants to make a difference. In this cultivating environment, there is an opportunity to learn and grow quickly with the Battle Creek Unlimited team – as you work side by side with energetic business professionals on the forefront of economic development. Remote work systems are in place to allow for flexibility within reason. This job offers excellent benefits and unlimited possibilities. Minimal economic development experience required but preferred.

Job Title:
Economic Development & Innovation Coordinator (Exempt-Fulltime)

Job Description:
The job encompasses a wide variety of work, including administrative and marketing support services; coordination of projects, programs, and activities in support of the mission; leading website and social management and initiatives; drafting of proposals and presentation; research; meeting coordination; event planning; community engagement; general office duties; and assists with special projects.

Knowledge, Skills, and Qualifications:
• Three (3) years of full-time work experience or a post-secondary resume in a closely related area of business, marketing, public relations, or communications.
• Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university is desired unless you have relevant work experience.
• Experience with desktop publishing, graphic design, Adobe products, Publisher, Microsoft Office Suite, WordPress, Social Media platforms, and Salesforce (CRM) preferred.
• Availability to attend in-person meetings on nights/weekends and to reach the office in cases of emergency.
• Possess the temperament and flexibility to work effectively in a fast-paced and energetic environment.
• Very strong verbal, written, and oral communication skills
• Strong multi-tasking skills, meeting deadlines, and performing under pressure.
• Ability to work both independently and in a collaborative team environment.
• Must be a self-starter, requiring minimal direction for completing assignments.
• Ability to maintain confidentiality of highly sensitive information. Absolute integrity and discretion are essential.

Pay Range: $45,000 – $55,000 with an excellent benefit package. Desired residency established in the City of Battle Creek within six months. Relocation packages offered.

Deadline to Submit: Please submit resume, cover letter, references to: joinourteam@bcunlimited.org
Resumes are due by July 23, 2021. Interviews will occur in August.

More about the Company:
Battle Creek Unlimited, Inc. (BCU) is a private, nonprofit corporation, serving as the business and economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek. For nearly 50 years, BCU has had a rich history of bringing investments and jobs to the Battle Creek Community. BCU manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park and is engaged in Community/Downtown Development initiatives. BCU is an Equal Opportunity Employer. For more information visit our website at www.bcunlimited.org.

Contact Us

  • Email Sign up

Our Partners