Momentum and progress!

Several of our priority projects are getting “shovels in the ground,” and the development community has taken notice. Residents and visitors can see progress in the Hampton Inn and Suites, Fricano’s Manistee River Restaurant, and the Gateway Spirit of the Woods project. Other business developments and momentum-building projects materialize within the community, like Third Life Brewing.  

In a collaboration with the Manistee County Visitors Bureau and developers, the Chamber placed multiple construction screens at the Gateway site. These provide thousands of marketing impressions and promotional messages for the area. The Hampton Inn and Suites construction team progresses on schedule, as we continue fielding and assisting interest from new developers and entrepreneurs.

Construction screens along US-31 increased the attractiveness of the Gateway project and provided marketing during the busy holiday weekend.
Progress is being made, as Hampton Inn and Suites
construction teams begin the elevator and stairwell.
Thank you for your support and investment, and we continue to look forward to making a difference in our community with this important work.
Hampton Inn and Suites Project
  • The Chamber assisted with communications needs during the initial stages of development. 
  • Demolition completed in May 2022, on track for completion in May 2023.
  • The development team established a June 2023 opening date goal.
  • Construction teams have completed the piers and foundation, and continue to make progress on the stairwell and elevator.

Gateway Spirit of the Woods Project
  • Progress in Brownfield approvals, partnership agreements, and financing elements.
  • Received approval for demolition in May 2022.
  • Utilities are disconnected, and environmental abatement initiated.
  • Demolition began the first week of June.
  • All five buildings in the Gateway project area have been demolished.
  • Partnership with Manistee County Visitor's Bureau to fund and design construction screens with promotional messages. Expect over 10,000 impressions.

Fricano’s Manistee River Restaurant 
  • Work is wrapping up on the rehabilitation of the building, with obvious interior and exterior progress.
  • Supply chain issues occurred, but the owner remains optimistic about a summer opening.
  • Pizza ovens and other kitchen appliances have been delivered and installed.
  • Interviews and hiring continue successfully, with urgency to open and retain interested staff.
  • A soft open in July 2022.
Downtown Manistee Development
  • There has been interest in developing sites in the downtown district for commercial and housing projects.
  • We are focused on providing a first point of contact for interested investors and providing assistance.

Third Life Brewing
  • The Chamber assisted the entrepreneur in expediting the approval of a brewer's license. Interviews, background checks, and Liquor Control Commission inspections are completed, and just waiting on approval in Lansing.
  • An interior "tasting room" has been developed, with the upstairs open to development and room rentals.
  • Final equipment has been ordered.
  • The timeline for opening will depend on licensing.  

Water Street Housing Project
  • The developer is working with the Chamber on MEDC incentives.
Business Retention and Expansion Visits
  • There were a number of contacts and assistance provided to local businesses during the quarter.  
  • Three new businesses are seeking assistance to relocate here, two of which successfully signed leases during this reporting period.
  • We advocated for North Channel Brewing regarding the traffic disruption and have begun to discuss the next steps. 
Lead Business Retention, Attraction, and Growth
Talent and Workforce Development
Growing Entrepreneurs and Necessary Career Skills
Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
Placemaking and Housing Needs
Building a Collaborative Environment and Effective Communications

James Barker, Munson Healthcare Manistee
Stacie Bytwork, Manistee Area Chamber
Jeff Dontz, Manistee County
Dennis McCarthy, Blarney Castle Oil & Propane
Jim Reithel, Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties
Tom St. Dennis, Little River Holdings, LLC
Bill Gambill, City of Manistee
Scott Ward, West Shore Community College
West Shore Community College
Manistee Industrial Development Corporation
Manistee County
City of Manistee
Manistee Downtown Development Authority
Blarney Castle Oil & Propane
Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital
Little River Holdings, LLC
Manistee County Visitors Bureau
Filer Credit Union
Consumers Energy
Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties
Packaging Corporation of America
Morton Salt
West Shore Bank
Iron Fish Distillery
LakeStar Farms