The third quarter is a time for construction, and we have cranes in the air! 

Construction at the 6PM Hospitality site for the Hampton Inn & Suites continues, and they are aiming to be weather-proof in November. The Chamber has seen an increased number of developer contacts, primarily on housing and rehabilitation projects. Much of the interest is coming in from introductions with existing developer relationships.  

We want to welcome Sammie Lukaskiewicz, Executive Director at the Manistee County Visitors Bureau (CVB), and Kelly Tomaszewski, Munson Healthcare Interim President for the South Region to the Economic Development Council. 

Thank you to our newest investor, Pioneer Construction!

Fricano's celebrated the approval of their liquor license on October 7th, and now offer a variety of beer and wine.

Construction on the Hampton Inn continues on schedule, with crews working hard to weatherproof before the colder season is upon us.

Fricano’s on Manistee River was opened and now has a liquor license. The Chamber was essential throughout this process, advocating on behalf of Fricano’s with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC). This redevelopment-ready site was a priority to address blight, and the restaurant is a beautiful addition to our downtown and tourism infrastructure. 

We are continuing to work with other restaurant entrepreneurs, and expect Third Life Brewing to open in the fourth quarter. Their liquor license is also in hand and is indicative of the forward momentum in our community. The EDC continues to streamline the decision-making process for development, specifically on housing opportunities to make business easier in Manistee County. 

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

  • Construction progresses on schedule.
  • The fifth floor is framed and poured.
  • The timeline looks positive to weatherproof for interior work.
  • Michigan Tax Commission approved a Commercial Rehabilitation Abatement. 

Gateway Spirit of the Woods Project*

  • Progress was made with environmental work and brownfield plans with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The site plan was approved to meet downtown district ordinances.
  • A coordination meeting with the developers, City, EGLE, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Chamber, and consultants occurred in September.
  • Negotiations and preparations were made for a hotel brand application.
  • A consultant with the developers worked on a funding request for the MEDC.

*After the third quarter wrapped up, in early October, Little River Holdings, LLC decided to reevaluate the project and update their plans. 

Fricano’s Manistee River Restaurant 

  • Chamber provided assistance with opening, and advocacy work to support an MLCC appeal. MLCC conditions include stipulations that everyone will be carded, regardless of age.
  • Finalized facade grant and submitted reimbursement. 
  • Plans to celebrate an Open House in early October. 


Housing Developments

  • There has been a number of unique developer contacts to discuss potential housing projects.
  • Identification of sites and incentives is essential moving forward.

Third Life Brewing

  • MLCC approved Brewer’s License in August.
  • The final equipment was delivered. 
  • In the final stages of Federal approval and licensing. 

River Street Hotel/Heritage Stays

  • Meetings with an outside consultant and developers to strategize on the next steps, Pro Forma, and building plans.
  • Chamber helped to set up a tour for an incentives determination.  

Northern Hotel

  • Work continues on Pro Forma, incentives, construction costs, and a request for an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA).
  • Set up a meeting with city manager and CFO to discuss the next steps. 


Business Retention & Expansion Visits

  • The Chamber partnered with Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties, LLC to provide a tour of the plant for community regional and state economic development partners, Networks Northwest, MEDC, Alliance for Economic Success, and Traverse Connect. Thank you to Jim and Bob!
  • There were also discussions with Iron Fish Distillery about a natural gas extension, enabling future expansion and job growth. 

The tour of Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties, LLC highlighted the importance of the manufacturer for local jobs, a regional connection to supply the Ludington plant, and the need for reliable transportation for international trade and exports.

Leadership & Professional Development

  • Stacie Bytwork, President & CEO, presented the current housing crisis, Chamber initiatives, and potential incentives at the Manistee County 18th Regional Summit. 
  • Marc Miller, Director of ED attended an Economic Development Training conference, hosted by the MEDC. “Introduction to Economic Development” is the first step to an Economic Development Certification by the International Economic Development Council.
  • Marc Miller also served as a panelist during a compelling and informative discussion at the U.S. EPA’s National Brownfields Training Conference in Oklahoma City.
  • Stacie Bytwork also attended the Michigan Works! Association Annual Conference, and was a moderator for the panel with Director Corbin from the Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity (LEO) and CEO Quentin Messer from MEDC.
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

Consumers Energy

Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties

Packaging Corporation of America

Morton Salt

West Shore Bank

Iron Fish Distillery

LakeStar Farms