Transformational Economic Development Announced for Manistee, Michigan

Little River Holdings, LLC has partnered with CL Real Estate Development to reinvent the entryway to the City of Manistee in Michigan. See full press release:


CL Enterprises and Little River Holdings Leads Creation of Hotel, Community Projects 

[MANISTEE, MI:  September 9, 2020]  Little River Holdings and CL Real Estate Development presented plans on Tuesday night to the Manistee City Council that will reshape and reinvent the gateway to River Street.  Coined the “Spirit of the Woods Manistee Gateway Project,” the development brings together the two experienced development groups in a unique partnership that invests millions of dollars in five parcels and have tremendous economic impact for the community.

“This unique partnership provides our community with the opportunity to build a better future with investments, jobs, infrastructure, and improvements to downtown,” stated Eugene Magnuson, Chief Executive Officer of Little River Holdings.  “We will be creating a destination and spaces that will encourage more visitors to turn onto River Street and invite residents to enjoy and utilize the redeveloped assets.”

The area of the project includes the north side of River Street, encompassing the Edward Jones Building and House of Flavors.  On the south side of River Street, the project spans from US-31 to Division Street and includes the elements of 289 River Street, the Cadillac Plumbing Building and the Memory Lane gas station location.

“This development is part of a continued economic development diversification for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians that aims to create new revenue sources for the Tribe and future generations.” Added Ogema Larry Romanelli. “It’s great to see the cooperation and collaboration to get this project going that will be truly transformational to the community.”

“Downtown Manistee and the surrounding area has great potential for community-based economic development,” said Nathan Watson, President of CL Real Estate Development.  “CL focuses on high-quality development opportunities where our investments can make a lasting impact, and we are excited to work on this transformational and meaningful project.”

The project will create a 97,000 square foot upscale boutique hotel with 100 rooms and amenities that will provide views of one of Manistee’s most important assets – water.  The hotel will feature a rooftop bar with scenic views, meeting rooms and banquet space, indoor/outdoor pool and a fitness room, and public plaza next to the Riverwalk for outdoor events.  Parking for the hotel will be included in an underground parking ramp.

The entrance to downtown includes a Manistee Welcome Center with additional office space that will incorporate a historic facade and provide information on the community, it’s history and recreational offerings.  The planned office space will be set in a prime location for the community and have a private entrance and parking off of River Street.

An event center will feature the historic and unique large bow truss ceiling and historic elements from the Cadillac Plumbing Building and provide 8,600 square feet of space that can hold up to 300 people for events.  There is potential in this space to draw visitors for  year-round events like weddings, conferences, classes, meetings, indoor Farmers’ Market and craft fairs.  There are opportunities for additional community partnerships with the developers in this expansive space.

Finally, a marketplace will also be created using historic elements from an art-deco period gas station.  The vision for this space includes business incubation elements with the intent to lower barriers to new business creation.  Spaces for new businesses and food trucks could be featured and draw visitors to this vibrant corner.

“This is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime partnership between the Little River economic development arm and a principled, visionary investment group,” said Stacie Bytwork, President of the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce.  “The vision for the project and the level of commitment to success by these partners will elevate the Manistee area and further our goals of economic development, a strong vibrant business community, and investment in our area and residents.”

CL Real Estate and Little River Holdings project that the economic impact from new hotel visitors will be $7.1 million annually in the Manistee Area.  The project will create 145 direct jobs and 300 construction jobs for the building and reutilization of properties.  One goal of this development is to create good paying jobs with benefits and advancement opportunities that are accessible to local residents.

The Manistee Gateway will capture the attention of those driving by on US-31 and will increase visitation to our community and encourage longer stays by visitors.  The project will spur indirect economic development, as well, by providing  opportunities for entrepreneurs and existing businesses.  For the community, the development will increase the local tax base and revenues for the County Visitors Bureau and taxing bodies.

After announcing the project to the City Council with the presentation on Tuesday, the partnership will begin to submit plans and applications to Manistee authorities during the remainder of 2020, and work towards construction to begin in 2021.