Student housing proposed on Marquette's Cliff-Dow site

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - A 340-bed student housing project could be built on part of the of the Cliffs-Dow site in Marquette under a Lower Michigan developer's proposal.

The first step of the plan goes before the Marquette City Commission Monday evening.

Jeff Baten of Harbor Springs wants to buy 10 acres of city land off of Wright Street for $120,000. The land is just north of Northern Michigan University's Superior Dome and is currently used as the city's compost site.

With a $11.9 million estimated construction cost, Baten is proposing student housing with 240 beds in Phase I. The units would be three-story walk-up apartments with one, two and three bedrooms. Phase II would add 100 more beds. Single-unit garages and self-storage units on site would be open to students and the public. The complex would be called the True North Apartments.

At Monday's meeting, the commission will vote on whether to authorize the city manager to negotiate a sale with the developer.

City Manger Mike Angeli says the plans are in the early stages.

"Then if we can come to some terms that might be acceptable to everybody, then I would bring it back to the commission at a later date for approval," said Angeli. "It's really preliminary right now."

Baten says he'll release more details in the coming weeks, and his plans could include some senior housing.

The city acquired the former Cliffs-Dow Plant site 20 years ago, and Angeli says cleanup work on the 46 acres the city owns is progressing under guidelines from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

"We've been working very diligently over the years, spent thousands of dollars, to clean up that site and to make it pass MDEQ inspection," he said. "We're getting very close."

Baten says he hopes to contribute to the city's plans to move a stretch of Lakeshore Boulevard away from the lakeshore because of erosion.

Angeli says the city has been trying for years to find financing for a $10 million project to move the road inland between Hawley and Wright streets.

"So one of the things I hope to accomplish through the sale of that property is a Brownfield Development plan in conjunction with a development plan with the city so that we can get some type of construction there that has enough taxable value to help us pay for the cost of that road," said Angeli. "It's very similar to what we did with Founders Landing."

TV6 and FOX UP will continue to follow this story.

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