The Ludington City Council on Monday approved a number of measures to continue the moving of materials from North Harrison Street to make way for the Lofts on Rowe project.

City Manager Mitch Foster said the council voted to terminate an easement at 804 N. Harrison St. in the alley for utilities. It also approved extending the inspection period prior to the closing of the sale of the property to Michigan Community Capital for the Lofts on Rowe project to get the paperwork in order.

The Lofts on Rowe is a project aimed at converting the old Wolverine Building/Haskell Building from a warehouse into apartments at 801 N. Rowe St. The building was donated by Ron and Dawn Sarto, and the project received assistance in block grants, brownfield redevelopment and tax credits. The project called for also buying the city’s property just to the north of the building where the city had its warehouse and salt barn.

A third item dealt with a short-term lease to pay Lofts on Rowe $1 of rent until its materials and supplies can be moved near the Department of Public Works building on First Street. The city also approved a bid by Gerber Construction of Reed City to build a new warehouse and salt barn on the DPW property.

“The warehouse, yes, will be built but the salt barn is not likely to be (finished by July 31),” Foster said. “The reason we recommended Gerber was that they provided an appealing bid. They’ll start to work on it in mid-summer.”

The salt from the barn needs to be handled, though, and Foster said the city intends to keep it under tarps on the public work site until it can be transferred to the new salt barn.

“We’ll make sure that it is covered and not impacted by moisture,” he said. “We have no belief that we will incur the $250 (fee) per day (if materials are not moved by July 31).”

The council also approved vacating Laura Street behind Brill Manufacturing, Foster said. The move was in conjunction with a request from 106 Laura Street, a developer that wants to build housing on the property between Brill and Pere Marquette Lake.

“It’s the same owners (as an initial proposal). It’s a different type of proposal. It has 95 units of market-rate housing and apartments,” Foster said. “A part of that is they worked with Brill Manufacturing to abandon a section of Laura Street directly behind Brill. Brill will utilize some of it for a loading dock, and the developers will have stalls for the 95 units.”

The street is platted, but unimproved.

In early 2007, 106 Laura Street proposed building a 132-unit condominium project called the North Shore Villas, which would also include the construction of a marina. The site received a brownfield redevelopment plan in 2006.

In 2008, the marina portion of the initial proposed project was denied by the then Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Since that time, the project was unable to move forward.

In plans that were a part of the city council’s packet, only the 95-unit housing project was shown, and a marina is not a part of the plans, either. The proposed project also has yet to be presented to the city’s planning commission.

While Monday’s meeting was hosted in-person in the council’s chambers, Foster said all city meetings will be virtual for the next two weeks, including the next city council meeting.

The Managing Editor for the Ludington Daily News since June 2018 and on the staff since Oct. 2011, taking over for legendary Lloyd Wallace. Previously with The Chippewa Herald in Chippewa Falls, Wis., and the Tuscola County Advertiser in Caro.

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