During its meeting on April 1, Hillsdale City Council passed the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act for the Keefer House, LLC, which will provide property tax exemptions for for the next 12 years.
Mayor Adam Stockford said the Keefer House, LLC submitted its application for the rehabilitation project to start July 2019, with a projected end date of Sept. 2020.
“The total estimated cost of the building and real property improvement reported by the applicant is $6,012,670,” Stockford said. “The Economic Development Corporation Board reviewed the application at their meeting held Feb. 21 and recommended that Council approved the resolution as presented for 12 years.”
C.L. Real Estate associate Brant Cohen ’18 said he appreciates the community’s support with the project.
“Our numbers work really well when we have the OPRA added into it to make this project viable for the city,” Cohen said. “We believe it is a catalyst for future development here.”
Ward 2 Council Member Will Morrisey asked Cohen how the council would learn if there is an error with the application.
“Would it be knocked down, what would would happen?” Sharp said.
According to Cohen, after the city assessor deemed the Keefer House an obsolete building, she deemed it worthy for the OPRA application, which then moved on to the council vote. The next step in the application process, Cohen said, is to receive approval from the state.
Morrisey also asked Cohen if he thought the project would make a big difference in downtown Hillsdale.
“We really feel that it’s going to be activating that block and bringing more people to the community to see the wonderful town that Hillsdale is,” Cohen said. “We’re very excited that it will show off the greatness of the city and encourage more investment and development.”
Cohen said the Keefer House will be transformed into a 34-room boutique hotel with a restaurant and have three retail spaces and a space in the back that can be used for events and dining.
Ward 3 Council Member Bruce Sharp said he supports the council’s decision to promote the project because the Keefer House has been empty for so many years.
“Here we got somebody that wants to invest and get the Keefer House going,” Sharp said. “Let’s get something done because we want to get the downtown rolling again.”
After discussing old photos of Downtown Hillsdale, Sharp said he would like to see the Keefer House come back.
“It benefits everyone in Hillsdale and the county, not just the college,” Sharp said. “I’m looking forward to seeing it get done.”