Our work on economic development has created momentum and positive incremental change for our county, and we are finally seeing the results. We kicked off the new year with an exciting first quarter, and there are numerous new projects on our radar.

With the Hampton Inn & Suites by 6PM Hospitality set to open in early summer, those seeking to expand or start new businesses in the hospitality sector are working with the Chamber. Lakeside Social, The Outsider, 318 River Street, as well as Emerald Cove Hotel and the Mill Restaurant all worked with the Chamber on their projects. In the Arcadia and Onekama area, we have had initial discussions and referrals with a developer and an entrepreneur on two projects, driving tourism throughout the county. There were other recruitment and expansion efforts that have taken root to provide more vibrant experiences for our tourism sector.  

457 River Street was purchased by a developer, to open a restaurant and outdoor dining space a.k.a the Outsider (rendering right). Construction has begun for a summer opening.

To help businesses grow, attract and retain talent, and remain competitive with other communities, we need more housing options. We are dedicated to finding solutions with our partners and developers. Manistee Township Place Apartments at the old Kennedy School is moving forward, and we are hopeful this will bring 288 new market-rate apartment units to the Manistee area. We are actively recruiting other opportunities to help meet these important needs, and draw upon our partnerships with Housing North, County Planning Department and others. 

Additionally, the Chamber partnered with Housing North to explore new programs and focused primarily on housing, incentives, and assistance with startups.

Thank you for your continued support of the program, and we look forward to more opportunities to discuss new developments.


Manistee Place Apartments

  • Worked with the developer to submit a tax abatement application to Manistee Township. In progress.
  • Provided a list of interested employers for pre-leasing apartments.

Hampton Inn & Suites

  • Worked with the developer on requesting assistance from the MEDC, to bridge gaps in financing.
  • The project is on track for a summer opening, and it will be an exciting & attractive location for guests & residents.

Emerald Cove Hotel & the Mill Restaurant

  • The development team presented at City Council and received approval for an OPERA district, incentive, and brownfield plan with help from the Chamber.
  • Worked on parking issues and sought approval from the zoning board of appeals meeting.

Cloverleaf LLC/Northern Hotel

  • Worked with the developer to submit a request to MEDC on a loan package.

Gateway Spirit of the Woods

  • Acting as the DDA, the Chamber has met with Little River Holdings (LRH) to discuss pathways for support and moving forward with the project.
  • Explored using DDA TIF capture and brownfield authorities to partner on a parking deck.
  • LRH continues planning the scope and direction of the project.


Lakeside Social Restaurant Project

  • Chamber held a meeting to work with the management team on the proforma and Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act application for 91-99 Arthur in Manistee.
  • Approved the abatement at City Council on March 21.

Outsider Cafe Project

  • Located at 457 River Street, the developer plans to renovate the building to make a restaurant and outdoor dining experience, with a focus on outdoor recreation.
  • Chamber assisted with the project and participated in a March 1st approval at the Historic District Commission.
  • Construction began in mid-March and is on schedule for a summer opening, with only minor setbacks with brickwork.

Travelers Motel

  • Working with the new owner of the Onekama location on plans to renovate and refresh the location for hospitality.

318 River Street

  • Toured the renovated space (old Fillmore) with Michigan Works! staff and made positive contact for hiring needs. Remains on track for an early summer opening. The name and format are still to be announced.  


Business Retention & Expansion Visits

  • The Chamber worked with PCA, Fricano's Manistee River, CDI Construction, Northern Spice Company, Iron Fish Distillery, UP North Collectors, Ramsdell Inn & TJ's Pub, and Onekama Marine on potential expansion and business development.
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

Stacie Bytwork, Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce

Jeff Dontz, Manistee County

Bill Gambill, City of Manistee

Little River Holdings, LLC

Sammie Lukaskiewicz, Manistee County Visitors Bureau

Dennis McCarthy, Blarney Castle Oil & Propane

Jim Reithel, Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties

Kelly Tomaszewski, Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital

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

Pioneer Construction

Manistee County Visitors Bureau

Filer Credit Union

Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties

Iron Fish Distillery