Early redevelopment plans for former hospital site presented to Marquette City Commission

NMU Foundation UPHS-Marquette reach tentative agreement on former hospital property
NMU Foundation UPHS-Marquette reach tentative agreement on former hospital property
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 10:03 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Marquette City Commission held a special meeting Monday afternoon to hear a report from the NMU Foundation about its efforts to join with Duke Lifepoint, the City and other partners to create a plan to redevelop the former Marquette General Hospital properties.

Commissioners were generally enthusiastic about what they heard, but several said their future support would be contingent on the final plan for the site including affordable housing. Mayor Jenna Smith and City Manager Karen Kovacs said they have been in contact with the Foundation and expressed support for their efforts to move the project forward.

Lifepoint has offered to sell the properties to the Foundation for $1.00, and also to contribute $10 million to the project. Foundation representatives said they have also had positive discussions with the MEDC and other state officials. Foundation CEO Brad Canale and Executive Director, Business Engagement and Economic Development, David Nyberg, told the Commission that initial studies were positive and they were hoping to move forward with the next key step, which is identifying and reaching an agreement with a developer capable of taking on a project of this size, which they estimated could be $160 million.

The plan calls for the demolition of nearly all the current structures on the site and developing a yet to be determined mix of housing and possible retail, cultural and commercial space.

The Foundation says it envisions substantial senior housing, including assisted and independent living, along with multi-family and single-family housing. The cost of various housing will be determined with a developer if the process moves forward.

“The definition of deed restriction or the definition of affordable housing will largely be determined by the RFQ (request for quotation) process, but it will be a big part of it,” said Nyberg.

Nyberg said a project of this size has the potential to open up additional housing stock in Marquette, as current homeowners start to downsize and could consider this new development.

While the City is not directly involved in the project management, its support is essential to get Brownfield funding for the demolition work. Commissioners said there would be future opportunities for public input as part of the Brownfield process, and many again reiterated that the plan would need to address affordable housing to gain their support.

It will take several weeks to a month before the plan returns to the Commission.

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