KML moves closer to sale to group

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette James Henderson, president and founder of Adoba Hotels, a company specializing in historic hotels, discussed his intentions of purchasing the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge at a special meeting of the county board Friday afternoon.

EAGLE RIVER — James Henderson, president and founder of the Adoba Hotels group has made an offer to the Keweenaw County Board to purchase the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.

The Adoba group gave the county a non-binding letter of inent to purchase the KML for the $1.5 million asking price, and will work with the Keweenaw County Attorney toward a purchase agreement for the property.

Under the letter of intent, after the purchase and sale agreement has been reached and signed, Adoba would take three months to perform due diligence to gather additional information and conduct further studies. During that period, Adoba could cancel the purchase and sale agreement for any reason, but if the group is satisfied, a sale closing could become reality.

“When I saw the Keweenaw, and the history behind the mountain lodge, I knew that I wanted to look at it,” Henderson said at a special meeting of the county board Friday afternoon. He said he was familiar with the Work Projects Administration and other programs initiated under the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, under which the mountain lodge was built in the mid-1930s.

“I love history,” Henderson said, “I love historical properties. I love the history; I love the history of what you guys have done with it, and maintained it and protected it for all these years. It’s very important, and I want to keep it the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.”

Henderson said if the purchase is completed, he will make some changes to the property, such as enlarging the golf course from nine holes to 18, and upgrading the reservation system. The lodge, he said, would remain open to the public.

Adoba completed renovating a motor hotel in Naubinway, investing some $250,000 to re-open the facility, now known as Adoba Naubinway, which two years after opening, is enjoying better than expected business, Henderson said. His company just completed the purchase of a hotel in Gladstone, as well.

Don Piche, board chairman, read from a statement during the special meeting that Henderson is not the only one to have approached the board.

“Adoba is one of three groups that have toured the property since it was listed for sale,” Piche stated. “Adoba was the first, and the second group went through last Friday. The third group went through this morning, and a fourth group has requested a tour sometime during the next seven to 10 days.”

Piche said none of the groups has given permission to identify them, so the board will not reveal their names.

“We will select the purchaser we want to negotiate with,” the statement read, “but we also intend to get (US Department of Agriculture) Rural Development’s agreement, if possible, before acting on any letter of intent.”

Rural Develop has stated it must approve any purchase and sale agreement reached between a perspective buyer and the county.