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The City of Hillsdale is nego­ti­ating a con­tract with a company looking to pur­chase the Keefer House, an aban­doned hotel in downtown Hillsdale.

Wolfram said the city hopes to rein­state the Keefer House as a hotel.

Director of Eco­nomic Devel­opment Mary Wolfram said the city is is working with the uniden­tified company to nego­tiate a price and a business pro­posal. Wolfram said the devel­opment agreement includes certain “bench­marks” the company is required to accom­plish within two years of the pur­chase.

She said the city hopes these require­ments will help restore the Keefer House — located on Howell Street — into a hotel once again.

Through the Tax Increment Financing Authority, or TIFA, the city bought the Keefer House in October 2016.

“TIFA pur­chased the prop­erties of the Keefer House and Dawn Theater in 2016 in the expec­tation of having them returned to their original scope and purpose, as a hotel and downtown enter­tainment venue,” said Robert Socha, TIFA board member.

Wolfram said the city hopes to rein­state the Keefer House as a hotel.

“The reason we bought it was to find a developer and develop it into a hotel, maybe apart­ments” she said. “We bought it because it had been sitting empty and there was no attempt to develop it for many, many years. It died an inglo­rious death.”

Wolfram said Hillsdale had to buy the property, because searching for devel­opers is only pos­sible for prop­erties the city owns. In its search for potential buyers, TIFA sub­mitted a Request for Pro­posal, or RFP, this past March. This is a doc­ument that asks potential buyers to send business pro­posals.

When nothing came of the RFP, TIFA sub­mitted a Request for Qual­i­fi­ca­tions, or RFQ, in Sep­tember. This deter­mines the eli­gi­bility and pos­sible success of potential buyers.

“We got two qual­ified state­ments back,” Wolfram said. “We are pur­suing the better of the two.” This entire process has taken a great deal of time, as it has been over a year since TIFA bought the Keefer House. Wolfram said these processes, however, are nec­essary.

“People crit­icize gov­ernment for how long every­thing takes, but there’s a reason for it,” she said. “The TIFA board only meets every other month. It’s a group of vol­un­teers from the business com­munity.”

The Keefer House itself was built in 1885 and func­tioned as a hotel until 1965, when it became a rooming house. It ulti­mately closed in the early 2000’s. According to Hillsdale’s His­toric Walking Tour, the building “has three store­fronts facing on Howell Street and extends along North Street all the way to the mid-block alley.”

The hotel boasts famous guests such as sharp­shooter Annie Oakley and scout William “Buffalo Bill” Cody. According to the His­toric Walking Tour, it has 54 guest rooms, as well as a dining room and two saloons. It was the site of many social events, including wed­dings and dances.

Wolfram said the Keefer House con­tributes to the his­toric worth of Hillsdale.

“Our entire downtown is on the national reg­ister of his­toric places,” Wolfram said. “That is because we have so many his­toric buildings in our his­toric dis­trict. The Keefer House is apart of that.”

  • Ellsworth_Toohey

    No Mary, people don’t crit­icize gov­erment for how long things take, people crit­icize gov­erment for inter­jecting itself in every­thing. Decades ago the free market deter­mined the Keefer house out­lived its eco­nomic use­fulness. Yet grant after grant after grant, all tax­payer money, has gone into that rathole.

    Of all places, Hillsdale, it’s sad to see such socialism prac­ticed. Your city doesn’t’ even have a proper firetruck and lets not even talk about the roads, yet we see all this candy store spending.

    • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

      It would probably cost more to demolish it than to put it to good use again. Con­sider the pos­si­b­lities.

      • Ellsworth_Toohey

        4+ million to tear it down? Can you source that?

        • Ellsworth_Toohey

          And BTW I don’t see where I sug­gested tearing it down. Sta­balizin the roof, which had been done, would keep it in place until the local economy recovered.

          • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

            It’s a hazard as is, it’ll need to be demol­ished or ren­o­vated. It’s just a matter of when. And if some private company is inter­ested in pur­chasing and ren­o­vating it-assuming they have a legit­imate line of credit to do that-what’s the concern? History shows us that if left unat­tended struc­tures like this end up catching fire with the threat to fire fighters and neigh­boring stru­cures. Seems like they’re taking the bull by the horns.

          • Ellsworth_Toohey

            So you can’t source those numbers you are tossing about?

            Yes it was a hazard. And it was owned by the private sector. As such, it was his respon­si­bility. And their are ordi­nances on the books, including con­dem­nation, that can force owners to take care of their prop­erties. That’s taking the bull by the horns, enforcing the laws, not cronyism.

            Yet you Alex advocate the gov­erment acquire these assets and put it on the tax­payers back. You do realize this is one of the def­i­n­i­tions of socialism?

          • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

            I’m not ‘tossing around’ any numbers, you’re the one who ref­er­enced $ 4 Million. Do you have any material to back that figure up or are you just filling in the blank spaces in your argu­ments as you go along? As for my com­ments, you agree with me that the vacant structure is ‘a hazard’ yet you propose nothing workable to address the sit­u­ation. ‘Con­dem­nation’ can take years of lit­i­gation and in the meantime the hazard con­tinues to exist. If someone is inter­ested in the property as the article sug­gests, it makes sense to inves­tigate that option. At least, among thinking people. Finally, the City already owns this property and has for several years. Whether it was a good idea or not to pur­chase it in the first place is an argument in futility, which you are trying to turn into a polemic argument. Since you seem con­fused on the facts behind this story, I’ll let you read the article before your next comment.

          • Ellsworth_Toohey

            Of course you are. You stated:

            —“It would probably cost more to demolish it than to put it to good use again. ”

            How much would it cost to demolish?

            As to the $4 million, all you ended up doing is exposing the fact you aren’t from the area. That number was taken from the fea­si­bility report on the hotel, page 40

            http://www.cityofhillsdale.org/media/50458/final%20feasbility%20study-hillsdale%20keefer%20hotel%20(2).pdf

            And last, the city has not owned the property for “several years:. they pur­chased it just a year ago in October 2016

            http://hillsdalecollegian.com/2016/10/tifa-purchases-dawn-theater-may-convert-community-center/

            Are you even from the area?

          • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

            The City owns the property, whether it be for ‘several years’ as I noted or shorter period of time. As such, it’s pointless to argue that item, an argument in polemics as I noted. ‘Fea­si­bility Reports’ are fine, but I’ve NEVER known one to live up actual tenders-they are usually con­ser­v­ative and vasly exagerated. A good con­tractor could knock that place down and rebuild it for under $ 4 Million, easily. You exposed your inex­pe­rience in building/renovation. Stick to pil­lo­rying the per­pe­trators of the Hillsdale goat, your argu­ments on this topic are baaaaaaaaaaad.

          • Ellsworth_Toohey

            Yet I actually can cite sources for my claims, unlike yourself.

            We’ve already estab­lished you are neither a student of Hillsdale college or a res­ident of Hillsdale. Now I’m won­dering if you’ve even grad­uated from college.

          • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

            Indeed I have, 3 times in fact as I have my PhD in Elec­trical Engi­neering. Are you an SNHU graduate? All the signs seem to point in that direction. You wrote ‘We’ve already estab­lished (that) you are neither a student of Hillsdale (n)or a res­ident of Hillsdale’. You haven’t ‘estab­lished’ any­thing of the kind, you assumed it-and you know what they say about assump­tions? By the way, who do you mean by ‘We’? You and your cellmate, or you and those voices you hear occa­sionally? Just keep on posting mis­in­formed com­ments or state­ments of the dis­tress­ingly obvious-at that you have no betters.

          • Ellsworth_Toohey

            Last I checked, Hillsdale College didn’t award EE degrees.

            As to you not being a res­ident, are you? If you are, you seem to be mas­sively unin­formed as to what is occurring in your own town.

          • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

            Hillsdale College offers a Pre-Engi­neering cur­riculum cur­rently that requires fin­ishing off your course of study at an ABET Accredited Engi­neering School. They really should con­sider offering an Accredited Engi­neering Program, as even Harvard has seen the light on that and now has an Engi­neering School. But that’s a dis­cussion for another time.

          • Ellsworth_Toohey

            SMH

          • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

            Is that what that rat­tling was? I thought I threw a bearing.

          • Ellsworth_Toohey

            Yeap… just the taxpayer’s pocket’s being emptied by yet another example of the command economy in action.…. with as you recall is how I started this thread.…

            —-“Decades ago the free market deter­mined the Keefer house out­lived its eco­nomic use­fulness. Yet grant after grant after grant, all tax­payer money, has gone into that rathole.

            Of all places, Hillsdale, it’s sad to see such socialism prac­ticed. Your city doesn’t’ even have a proper firetruck and lets not even talk about the roads, yet we see all this candy store spending.”

          • Ellsworth_Toohey

            This might help you catch up on the back­ground so you are less focused on winning a internet argument and instead as to the actually topic.

            http://hillsdalecollegian.com/2015/02/horton-hordes-hillsdale-history/

          • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

            Don’t blame me, I vote for con­ser­v­a­tives and Lib­er­tarians. But the city already owns this structure, it’s pointless to rail on about it. If they have a plan to sell it to a private developer who has a proven line of credit, why not inves­tigate options?

  • DefCon99

    Did the reporter even leave the college and see the Keefer?

    • Ellsworth_Toohey

      It looks like this year’s batch mostly use rumors on facebook to source their stories.

  • Penny Swan

    Another reason things were talking so long is the seller made con­tin­gencies that only a certain type of business could go in there for a year. The seller made all sorts of con­tin­gencies that went along with the sale, I have no idea why TIFA went along with those. Lit­erally every meeting I go to I find out more.

    • Ellsworth_Toohey

      You have no idea? Oh I think you do. A certain TIFA member, who voted No, told me it was a certain failed real estate investor who was the big push behind having the tax­payers acquire this white ele­phant.

      • Penny Swan

        Ok I def­i­nitely do have a idea 🙄

  • Joseph Hendee

    TIFA steals a portion of the business dis­tricts money. I am not a fan of it. Espe­cially if it’s for College interests and has no value to the average res­ident.