A picturesque view of the St. Clair River

Nate Scramlin

Monday, October 24, 2016

New hotel centerpiece of Marine City’s cultural development

Keeping its dream alive to become a cultural destination along the historic St. Clair River, downtown Marine City will add a much-anticipated 26-unit, three-story boutique hotel at the site of a former car dealership.

Today, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced the Inn on Water Street LLC has received a Michigan Community Revitalization Program incentive of $642,000 in the form of a performance-based grant. The project includes the redevelopment of four parcels of property on the corner of Bridge and Water streets. 

The grant spurs nearly $4.2 million in private investment with an expected 15 permanent jobs to be created when the hotel is completed next summer. The developer has secured financing for approximately 49 percent of project costs and is contributing significant equity of approximately 25 percent of project costs.

“Being a mixed-use project, this is really great for the city and its residents,” said Elaine Vertin of Inn on Water Street LLC. “Third-story condominiums enhance the tax base and offer owners a fantastic view of the St. Clair River, while visitors staying in the guest rooms can enjoy a close up view of the freighter traffic and the ferry to Canada.”  

Providing a much-needed catalyst for further economic development in Marine City, the new hotel – including residential units – is expected to increase downtown walkability. In addition, the hotel is expected to attract over-night tourists, thereby increasing out-of-town visitors’ time in the community, which would positively impact local businesses while fostering Marine City as an arts-and-culture destination. 

The developers’ other recent investments in downtown Marine City include the Snug Theatre and the River Bank Theatre. Both theaters are located in fully renovated historic buildings.

“When we opened our professional theaters, Marine City was a sleepy town with a lot of vacant storefronts,” said Tom Vertin of Inn on Water Street LLC. “With the help of MSHIDA grants and a lot of entrepreneurial investment, the retail spaces are full and renovated second stories have become downtown apartments with new tenants. Now, the town is bustling year round.”

In order to alleviate brownfield conditions and prepare the project site for redevelopment, the County of St. Clair Brownfield Redevelopment Authority is seeking approval of local and school tax capture for MSF eligible activities in the amount of $216,800.

“This project demonstrates the power of collaboration when public and private sectors come together to foster a community’s cultural revitalization and create a sense of place,” said Katharine Czarnecki, senior vice president of community development at the MEDC. “The combination of incredible views of the St. Clair River and the development of the latest cultural venues and new businesses in downtown present tourists and visitors with compelling reasons to visit Marine City.”

In addition to the Inn on Water Street, the development team has owned and operated businesses in Michigan for over 30 years, including Visioneering Inc., an aerospace tooling manufacturing firm that was sold in 2006.

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