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The Keefer Hotel in downtown Hillsdale. Col­legian | Julia Mullins

While the Keefer Hotel project remains in its pre-devel­op­mental phase, archi­tects, con­tractors, and interior designers are making strides every day to move the project forward. 

Brant Cohen, ’18, an asso­ciate for C.L. Real Estate LLC, and said this early phase is taking just as much time as the developer expected due to the com­plexity of the project. 

“We’re going to get to ground­breaking as quickly as we pos­sibly can,” Cohen said. 

After final­izing its pur­chase of the Keefer in October 2018, C.L. Real Estate said it hoped to begin con­struction in the early months of 2019, according to an earlier article from the Hillsdale Daily News

Cohen, however, said C.L Real Estate never spec­ified when con­struction would begin.

“We didn’t have a start date,” he said. 

Due to the building’s age, Cohen added, archi­tects must pay careful attention to every detail, from pipes to light­bulbs. 

Nathan Watson, general manager for C.L. Real Estate LLC, said the developer is in the process of final­izing the design. 

“We are about 60 percent through con­struction doc­u­ments, so we have 40 percent more to go,” Watson said. “And we are working on our con­struction costs.” 

Watson added that C.L. Real Estate aims to start con­struction in early 2020, and the con­struction process should take 12 to 15 months.

Cohen said C.L. Real Estate wants the com­munity to be proud of the Keefer Hotel, and he is con­fident that the ren­o­vated hotel will provide an “oppor­tunity for the city.”

Tax Increment Finance Authority Chair Chris Sumnar echoed Cohen. 

We believe that the Dawn and the Keefer projects will be cat­a­lysts for addi­tional investment in our downtown,” Sumnar said.  

The Keefer will become a bou­tique hotel with 34 total rooms. The rooms will consist of six suites, two extended-stay units, and the remaining rooms will be a com­bi­nation of double and queen beds. 

The updated hotel will also contain a full-service restaurant open to both the public and hotel guests.

In addition to the restaurant, Watson said that the Keefer House LLC will lease store­fronts to local busi­nesses who offer very inter­esting and high-quality products. 

The revival of the Keefer Hotel will provide mul­tiple new job oppor­tu­nities for waiters, recep­tionists, porters, and security.

“This is a great project,” Cohen said. “We want to see it done and we’re going to get it done. It just takes time to do things right, and we want to make sure we take our time. We don’t want to rush it.”

Julia Mullins con­tributed to this report.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with addi­tional infor­mation.

  • Ellsworth_Toohey

    In case anyone is inter­ested, here is the original story as pub­lished in the printed edition. I’ve now seen a city official pub­licly state the original story was in fact accurate. This new story seems to have been rewritten more as a press release.

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1IrbqfJGQU5tWO744-hEr-wD6UQoo9zPM

    • Ellsworth_Toohey

      In addition, the new story seems to attempt to push off start date inac­cu­racies to the Hillsdale Daily News, stating:

      After final­izing its pur­chase of the Keefer in October 2018, C.L. Real Estate said it hoped to begin con­struction in the early months of 2019, according to an earlier article from the Hillsdale Daily News.

      Cohen, however, said C.L Real Estate never spec­ified when con­struction would begin.

      “We didn’t have a start date,” he said.

      yet whoever rewrote the story failed to check the Col­le­gians own archives. In a story dated April 2019:

      http://hillsdalecollegian.com/2019/04/council-approves-opra-keefer-house/

      it was stated:

      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.

      Which seems to both be a clear and apparent written start date.

      It appears someone just didn’t like the first story, yet the first story was accurate. But we see at least the first part of the story was mate­rially changed and rewritten. And in doing so, fail to mention the ongoing delays at another CL Enter­prise project, the Kaskaskia hotel in LaSalle IL.

      This paper is intended as a training ground for jour­nalists, not for people writing press releases.

      • Ellsworth_Toohey

        And to take any amount of he said/she said out of this, here is CL’s OPRA sub­mission to the city, signed by their general manager Nathan Watson listing Cohen as the POC. It clearly says the state date is July 2019.

        What Cohen stated was not accurate. They did have a start date both in the signed OPRA appli­cation as well as in their own nar­rative, both being July 2019.

        https://drive.google.com/open?id=1R4e8i5zzAPYeULJDWQUK6Nq6_MbtPj6q

        Come on col­legian… you’re better then this.

  • Penny Swan

    This article wasn’t updated at all, a entire new article was written to fit the agenda that they want said. When articles are updated the flavor or the article is still there, there is zero flavor of the first story. I believe the first article, given what CL Enter­prises has going on in their Illinois project which is zero, the City Council down there are starting to see the light and speak up. Come on Col­legian this is not integrity in jour­nalism, very very dis­ap­pointed in what has tran­spired here. My dad always told me mis­takes happen just learn by them, I hope the paper has learn by this. Oh I emailed the Col­legian and never heard back about this story getting taken down.