JACKSON, Mich. — Downtown Jackson’s Hotel Hayes has been vacant since 2004, but this year it may finally see life once again.
The city is working to restore it and create spaces that benefit you.
Public Information Officer Aaron Dimick says the economy may have played a role for the reason why it’s been vacant.
“I think why we have not seen this building redeveloped over the past 17 years is Michigan and Jackson in general have seen some hard economic times where a lot of people have not wanted to make such a big investment in Jackson,” Dimick said. “But, we believe that momentum is on our side. People want to be in Jackson. People want to spend time in downtown Jackson, so we think this is the perfect time for this to be redeveloped.”
Hotel Hayes hasn’t seen life for over a decade. But, it has been seeing investments. Dimick says the city has spent $1.5 million on the building over the past 17 years.
“That may sound like a lot but we're talking about keeping a huge building like this secure and keeping people out of it keeping it dry,” Dimick said. “We have done a new roof. That was a huge undertaking. We've done some partial demolition on a majority of the floors so taking out the old walls and furnishing stuff like that. A lot of residents might be wondering why we would spend $1.5 million on a vacant building. It would cost well over $2 million to demolish this building and then this would be lost forever. We wouldn't be able to redevelop it. We wouldn't be able to return this as a community resource.”
The former hotel turned mixed-use office space is 10 stories tall. Jackson Anchor Initiative CEO Scott Fleming says that will require some cash to take on.
“What we’re doing with is a ready redevelopment program that we have in partnership with the MEDC to put incentives on the table,” Fleming said. “11 particular incentives that will help out greatly. There is a historic tax credit, there’s on for the federal government that 20 percent. Then there’s one for the state that is 25 percent so that helps out. About 45 percent of the development costs. Right up front $100,000 to help out the chosen developer whoever we choose.”
In August, city officials hosted a get together to try to get potential developers to latch on to Hotel Hayes.
“I think it’s going to be well over $20 million to fully rehab this building and bring it back online,” Dimick said. “Doing a project of this size if you were building a new building it would cost way more. We believe for an investor this is going to be something that is cost effective for them if they’re looking to do a project like this. This building has really great bones, it’s in a great location. The good thing is the exterior is in really great shape.”
There have been failed attempts to get someone to redevelop Hotel Hayes in the past. What makes this time different?
“There are some local folks that wanted to take on the challenge and it didn’t work out,” Fleming said. “There were some other close calls and it didn’t happen. So, when I came into town I knew there was this RRC dollars available that we utilized and made a study and then also partnered with not only the MEDC but the Michigan Municipal League and then also the Smith Group who did a lot of the design and layout of the building. They were an integral part of making this all happen.”
City officials say they envision Hotel Hayes to become vibrant once again.
“What I’m envisioning again the first floor be retail mixed use retail and a restaurant,” Fleming said. “These subsequent floors you may have some ballrooms or meetings. Maybe some hotel, apartment as well as maybe some condominiums.”
According to Fleming there has been real interest from developers to take on this project but it will still take a few years to see a completely finished product.
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