By Patrick Stout
Posted Aug. 22, 2013 @ 9:30 pm
After several attempts over the past few years, Macomb may have finally found a developer for the vacant Lamoine Hotel.
Chris Trotter told members of the city council’s community development committee Thursday that he may be able to secure funding to build commercial office space on the first floor and an assisted living facility on the second through fifth floors.
Trotter said he has made a purchase offer on the building. He said his company, Trotter General Contracting, owns another building in Macomb and one in Industry and is looking at other locations. He said he has done market studies to help him come up with plans to repurpose the buildings.
City Administrator Dean Torreson said Macomb has $200,000 that it could invest in Trotter’s project, giving the city the final decision on how the property would be used.
“There’s water pouring through that building with every rain,” he said. “Something has to be done soon or it won’t be salvageable.”
Torreson said the city could be faced with $500,000 in demolition costs if the building is abandoned.
Trotter said he thinks the building can be saved.
“We think this building would work for us, but it’s in rough shape” the developer said. “If there isn’t a roof put on it, it probably won’t make it through another winter.”
Trotter would use his funds and construction resources, plus the city’s contribution, to stabilize the building. He said a market study is underway that, when completed, might qualify him for a USDA loan and some local bank loans.
“The USDA money is there,” Trotter said. “They think the building has potential.” He said he faces a December deadline for the next funding cycle, and that the first portion of the market study has yielded very positive results.
The developer said he would like to build 30 to 40 units on the upper floors and use the first floor for offices, conference rooms, and possibly a restaurant. If Trotter succeeds in raising 75 percent of the development costs, Macomb would contribute 25 percent beyond its initial contribution.
Torreson said the city would receive about $60,000 per year in property taxes if the building were fully developed. Trotter estimated it would take about $2.5 million to restore the building and give it a new purpose.
Macomb is prepared to dedicate half of the city parking lot behind the building to office and assisted living clients, and to give Trotter as much as $50,000 from the downtown façade improvement fund. The property is located in the Macomb/McDonough County Enterprise Zone, so he would pay no state tax on building materials, and Torreson said the developer is also eligible for a 20 percent federal tax credit because the building is part of the downtown designation in the Federal Register of Historic Places.