McCamly Plaza Hotel To Close For Renovations
McCamly Plaza Hotel turns 38 this Saturday. But soon, it’ll be closed for several months, as the current owners say they'll work to complete renovations.
Neil Freeman, Chairman & CEO, Aries Capital, LLC, the current owner of the property, confirmed today that the hotel will close sometime in December to complete the work needed to get the hotel ready for an intended sale to the Hilton Doubletree brand. Sources tell WBCK the date for the closure is December 1st.
“We determined that shutting down the hotel is the best course of action to finish the work, “said Freeman in a conversation with WBCK. “Hotel guests and construction just don’t mix well.” Freeman says his company has had an ongoing and open dialog with Battle Creek City leaders.
Nearly two years ago, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) loaned the hotel owners $3.5 million for renovations through a Direct Investment Fund (DIF). Freeman says that money has been spent to convert build a fitness center, replace the pool, and convert rooms to apartment units. The plan announced at the time called for the number of hotel rooms to be reduced from 239 to 179. In addition, the owners planned to add approximately 50 apartment units, and renovate the atrium. City leaders were under the impression that the $3.5 million dollar loan would cover all of the renovations, and that they would be done by the end of 2018. Clearly, not all of that has happened. Now the hotel says they'll begin work on more renovations, which according to sources could take six months.
Sources say workers at the hotel have received notice that the hotel would close on December 1st, and all but a handful got termination notices.
City leaders have expressed frustration that the project is taking so long, but Battle Creek City Manager Rebecca Fleury remains optimistic. "I'm still hopeful that the renovations will be done, and the hotel will transition to the Hilton Doubletree brand." But Fleury says the city is still waiting for official notice from the current hotel owners on the six month closing and specifics about the work they plan to do during that shutdown.
The closing could present some challenges for those involved in Battle Creek events, particularly those at Kellogg Arena. The Calhoun County Visitors Bureau remains upbeat. “While closing for renovations will be a disruption in the short-term, we think it will have long-term benefits,” said Linda Freybler, CEO of the visitors bureau. She says her staff is working hard to keep the events that are scheduled during the time McCamly will be closed for renovations. All affected customers have been contacted and alternate arrangements are being made.
The closing will not affect the upcoming State Volleyball Tournament, but could cause adjustments to be made for December's Statewide Tech Competition, and other upcoming events.
FRA Investors/NDF Battle Creek, LLC, an affiliate of Chicago based Aries Capital, LLC, became the sole owner of the McCamly Hotel in 2017. Aries affiliated companies have a significant portfolio of hotel properties across the country.