Developer wants ban on new hotels

ESCANABA — The Escanaba City Council tabled a resolution Thursday that would have prohibited new hotels from being built within the city.

“I don’t have enough information to even begin discussing this at a public meeting,” Mayor Marc Tall told the council.

The proposed moratorium, which was proposed by Proxima Management, would prohibit the development of any new hotel or motel within the city for three years after the developer received a Phase I Certificate of Completion for the hotel it intends to build on the site of the old Delta County Jail.

A few projects would be exempt from the proposed moratorium. Currently operating hotels or motels would still be able to expand, negotiations and construction could continue on a hotel project planned for the site of the former Super One Foods, and development could still occur at the House of Ludington.

“If the market share is not substantial enough or the market share is too greatly saturated, the lending institution and/or franchisor will not support the hotel development given the risks associated. A thirty-six (36) month moratorium would support the stabilization of the current hospitalities facilities in order to fulfill the efforts and protect the financial investment of the city of Escanaba,” Isaac Carr, an attorney from Carr, Skadberg & Kazmierczak wrote in a memorandum of understanding sent to Escanaba officials on behalf of Proxima.

Tall indicated he would be speaking with a principal from Proxima later this month. The item was tabled until February so those discussions could occur.

In other business, the council held the first of five planned public hearings on the city’s budget. During this hearing, Recreation Advisory Board Vice-Chair Patty Woerpel implored the council to support a resurfacing project the recreation department is planning at the Ludington Park tennis courts.

The council also approved a deficit elimination plan for the Escanaba Downtown Development Authority. The plan is the result of an internal loan the DDA must repay to the city for the construction of the Marketplace. This is the third year the DDA has been required to submit a deficit elimination plan to the state, and the authority is currently about $159,000 ahead of schedule in repaying the loan.