Green Bay City Council approves development agreement for Hotel Northland project
By Bill Miston
GREEN BAY - The 89-year-old Hotel Northland has been a diamond in the rough for several years at the corner of Adams and Pine.Developer Mike Frantz intends to polish it up."We want to make sure we restore it, to its original grandeur - and that people have something to be proud of."
The city's redevelopment authority signed off on the layered financing plan for his $35 million project. The city council unanimously approved the agreement Monday night."Lining up the capital to pull this thing together has been very collaborative and took us longer than any of us could have imagined," explained Frantz, the principal of Frantz Community Investors, after the RDA meeting Monday afternoon.The whole process - up to this point - has taken nearly a year.The financing portion involves six layers: from Frantz' own money, to private loans, city tax dollars, as well as state and federal grants and credits.A recently signed state law increased the tax breaks developers can receive on rehabilitation expenses for buildings built before 1936. Frantz has said the tax credit law's passing was essential to taking on the project.Now, a funding question mark lies with the federal credits. Frantz will have to wait until May to learn if the project will receive them.City leaders say they're confident."We will need that to make this happen," said Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt after the special RDA meeting. "But we feel very confident that six pieces of financing will all come through and we just want to all agree on it. And something that's contractual - like a development agreement - will help us solidify the financing for this project."The 160 rooms in the boutique, four-diamond rated hotel are projected to range from $120-$140. Once complete, the hotel will provide 160 people with full-time jobs.Frantz says the plan is to bring in a variety of first floor businesses that complement the downtown."We want to make sure that the amenities we have in place embrace the community and that we are not in any way, shape, or form, alienating the community, somehow," Frantz said.Frantz plans to kick off the project next month - on the 90th anniversary of the hotel's opening. A grand opening is planned for June of next year.
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