August 29, 2022

Half-built Saline hotel sold to new owners for $2.8M

SALINE, MI - A half-built hotel in Saline has changed hands, potentially spelling the end to more than two years of dormancy on the project that was intended to bring a new Best Western to the city.

On Aug. 18, the hotel was sold to Birmingham-based Saline Hospitality, LLC for $2.8 million, a result previously reported would likely emerge from a liquidation plan confirmed in the bankruptcy case of the investment group that originally got the project off the ground.

Saline Mayor Brian Marl confirmed the sale on Monday, Aug. 29. In a Facebook post, he wrote that the Bacall Group, which he said owns and operates more than 50 hotels across the Midwest, had taken ownership of the property.

“They have a strong and impressive track record of successfully completing projects, while also being active in community affairs. City staff and I are eager to work with them,” Marl wrote.

Reached by phone, a Bacall Group representative referred a reporter to a representative of Bacall Companies, who did not immediately respond to a voicemail left on Monday afternoon.

In an interview, Marl said he couldn’t say exactly when construction might resume on the dormant hotel, but the city indented to share more details in the near future.

City officials met with Bacall company representatives over the course of the summer and conducted a joint walk-through of the hotel property at 1250 East Michigan Avenue, he said. “We’ve developed a good working relationship so far.”

This year’s summer taxes on the property have been paid to the city, the mayor said, adding he expected mowing and landscaping to occur at the site in the “very near future.”

Saline Lodging Group, LLC — whose members are a collection of mostly mostly local businesses, individuals, family trusts and husband-and-wife teams that invested in the project, according to court documents — developed the hotel before “a lack of financial resources” brought construction to a standstill in late 2019, the mayor previously said.

The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2021, navigating an extensive set of legal proceedings before the court approved the liquidation plan on July 22.

The plan provided for the payment of back-taxes to Saline and Washtenaw County and roughly $400,000 in construction debts, among other outstanding claims, according to court documents.

The plan called for Saline-based Your Enterprise Solutions, LLC (YES), a separate company which held a mortgage on the property, to pay the debts and take control of the hotel. Geoffrey Silverman, an attorney for YES, previously told MLive/The Ann Arbor News the firm intended to sell the property to “an experienced hotel operator who will complete the construction and operate the hotel.”

The transaction was ultimately completed on Aug. 18 with a sale price of $2.8 million, according to property records.

The unfinished three-story, 63-room Best Western Premier hotel with a restaurant and banquet space and the property it sits on was appraised in 2020 with a $2.7 million market value, according to court filings.

The city of Saline is not formally involved in the project, but officials have kept apprised of progress and advocated for it to be completed.

The work needed to finish the hotel includes involves interior construction, like putting in flooring, lighting and fixtures, Marl said previously.

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