The Keefer House will be remodeled into a hotel by fall 2020. Collegian|Julia Mullins

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.”