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City Council OKs Hodge Building sale

Mixed-use residential, U.P. State Bank to use site and adjacent lots

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette The Houghton City Council approved the sale of the Hodge Building on College Avenue Wednesday. That and adjacent sites will be used for a full-service banking office of Upper Peninsula State Bank and a residential/mixed-use development.

HOUGHTON — The Hodge Building has a new owner.

The Houghton City Council approved the sale of the building to Portage Land Company, LLC at 902 College Ave. at its meeting Wednesday.

Portage also bought sites east of the Hodge building that had been owned by Gregg Nominelli. In combination with the neighboring properties at 908 and 912 College Ave., Portage will build a full-service banking office of Upper Peninsula State Bank and a residential/mixed-use development. TheHodge site currently houses the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce.

U.P. State Bank currently has a full-service office on Razorback Drive, in addition to offices in Escanaba, Gladstone, Iron Mountain and Marquette. Asked whether the bank would also continue to use the Razorback Drive location, U.P. Bank Executive Administration Coordinator Kathryn Bianga said the bank is still determining plans for locations.

“The purchase of this property shows our bank’s dedication to not just the Keweenaw, but the Upper Peninsula as a whole,” U.P. State Bank Board Chairman Robert Bink said in a statement. “This is a great and exciting step as we continue building and sharing our brand of banking with residents of the greater Houghton area.”

Last year, the council rezoned the city-owned property and Nominelli properties to B-2 (community business district) with added conditions. The property could have two structures: a commercial building of up to 6,000 square feet, and a residential/mixed-use building the same size or larger. Also, no building on the site can be higher than 50 feet.

The purchase price was set at the appraised value of $440,000. Portage can also do due diligence before the closing date of April 30.

City Manager Eric Waara said the sale aligns with multiple city goals. The city’s master plan calls for selling the Hodge property for private development. The proceeds from the sale also get the city about a third of the way to another goal: offsettting the bonded cost of last year’s parking deck demolition.

“Additionally, the return of a bank to our downtown will provide many residents with banking options within walking distance,” he said. “With this project overall, the redevelopment of the larger parcel of property will also bring much-needed housing opportunities.”

Representatives from Portage and the U.P. State Bank attended the meeting. Councilor Mike Needham wished them luck.

“It’s awesome that you are involved with this,” he said. “It’ll be good to see something new going there.”

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