ADRIAN — Everybody at the Adrian City Commission meeting seemed to agree a new $6 million hotel would be a huge development for Adrian.
But it was with how the hotel deal came about that led some to have concerns.
The Adrian City Commission approved two decisions Monday that led it to sell for $1 a 3.8-acre property in its industrial park to a group called Lenawee Hospitality LLC, which was represented by Ken MacLaren of Ohio and who is proposing to build a hotel across from Adrian College on U.S. 223. MacLaren is currently part of the management team for the Wingate by Wyndham Hotel in Sylvania.
The meeting was a mix of opinions on both sides.
Some on the commission and city staff expressed concerns with the deal being put together by Mayor Jim Berryman without their knowledge until this past week. Some commissioners said the hotel deal, no matter how arrived at, would be a big benefit to the community.
Some in the public expressed similar opinions.
The first decision was a unanimous vote and it was with the reassigning of the option to purchase agreement with Adrian College to Lenawee Hospitality. The city commission had approved an option to purchase agreement with the college at its May 1 meeting.
In his memorandum to the city commission, Adrian City Administrator Shane Horn said, “Based upon the new developments on the sale of property within the Adrian Industrial Park, Adrian College officials have requested to assign their interest in the designated property to Lenawee Hospitality LLC as allowed under the Option to Purchase Agreement.”
Horn said the option to purchase agreement stipulates that the city would need to agree to this reassignment in writing, which was the reason for the formal request to the city commission.
In a letter to the city, Jerry Wright, vice president of business affairs and chief financial officer at Adrian College, asked the city to allow Lenawee Hospitality to acquire the college’s interest in the agreement, but to let the college reacquire that interest if the city and Lenawee Hospitality could not reach a purchase agreement.
Frank Hribar, vice president of enrollment and student affairs at Adrian College, was at the meeting and said timing was of the essence for the deal to be successful. He said the college pulled its interest away from the property once it heard of the hotel proposal because it believed there was great potential with it.
During public comment a range of opinions were voiced.
Visit Lenawee executive director Justin Gifford said in support that Adrian and Lenawee County were missing out on business and events because of a major lack of hotel space. Jim Van Doren and Tim Robinson of the economic development organization Lenawee Now said the hotel could bring in around $184,000 annually in tax revenue. Van Doren said in deals such as these the investment team sometimes want to deal with one person, such as…