The hotel project on the east side of town continues to make progress.
Local developers of the Best Western Premier hotel say they submitted a site plant to the city on Wednesday. They are also nearing the capital structure they need to push forward, thanks largely to local investors.
Developers Jim Junga, Mark Kuykendall and Jim Haeussler, of Sauk Trail Ct. Properties, appeared before council with a request for a 90 day extension on the due diligence period of their purchase agreement with the city of Saline. They’re in the process of purchasing the East Michigan Avenue land for the Best Western Premier hotel project and for a new Junga Ace Hardware store.
Council voted 6-1 in favor of extending the agreement. Councillor Dean Girbach voted against the extension.
“It’s taken a little more time than we anticipated but we are very close to getting it over the goal line,” Kuykendall told council.
In a Sept. 12 memo to Saline City Council Junga said $6 million in financing has been secured for the hotel. The group has raised $2.1 million of the $3 million required to move forward.
“We’re very pleased and proud to share that most of our committed investment – 90 percent of it – has come from local Saline residents, individuals and businesses. It has truly turned in to a local project,” Kuykendall told council.
The group continues to welcome local investors.
Kuykendall anticipates the fundraising process will be completed by late October.
Councillor Janet Dillon asked the developers about funding for the hardware store. Junga told Dillon he had the capital and a commitment from Bank of Ann Arbor for financing project.
The group hopes to break ground before the end of 2017.
Mayor Brian Marl said he was excited to hear that so many local investors were participating in the project.
“I think that’s indicative of the fact that the hotel project has been a target business for a number of years,” Marl said. “I know that you (Kuykendall), along with Mr. Junga and Mr. Haeussler, have worked very hard on this project. The goal line is in sight. Keep plugging away. This is important to the Saline community. It will enhance the quality of life. It will take a parcel that’s been publicly held for decades, transfer it to the private sector. Jobs will be created. Our tax base will grow. There is a number of tangible benefits.”
Marl said he was cautiously optimistic and asked the developers to let the city know what it can do to be helpful.
The purchase agreement was struck Sept. 19, 2016. It was extended Dec. 27, 2016, and June 6, 2017.
The developers agreed to pay the city $430,000 for the property if the city agreed to pay for moving utilities on the property.