News Story

Taxpayers Will Subsidize Closed Battle Creek Hotel

Governments line up to give owners taxpayer dollars

The Michigan Legislature recently enacted and the governor signed a state budget that gives $2 million in an “enhancement grant” to the new owners of a closed hotel in Battle Creek. This is said to be related to a proposed $46 million renovation, with the structure then becoming a Hilton DoubleTree hotel when the work is complete.

The new owner is Battle Creek Unlimited, which describes itself as a private nonprofit corporation that “serves as the business and economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek.” It took possession of the McCamly Plaza Hotel after earlier lending the previous owner $3.5 million for improvements, according to WWMT-TV. The previous owners closed the McCamly Plaza Hotel in November 2019 after announcing they would close it for six months and get it rebranded it as a Hilton DoubleTree, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer. It never reopened.

The $2 million state grant was in a state budget bill and is labeled “Battle Creek Unlimited for the renovation of the McCamly Plaza Hotel property.” But this is just a portion of what Battle Creek Unlimited has received from government sources in recent years, with more in the pipeline:

The Battle Creek City Commission is considering giving $2.5 million in federal money to the nonprofit. The city received $30 million in federal support from the American Rescue Plan.

Besides state funds and possibly the city government, the source of the rest of the funds needed for the $46 million renovation is not known.

According to its latest federal 990 report, Battle Creek Unlimited has received government grants (contributions) in the amount of:

$2.7 million in 2015

$2.83 million in 2016

$2.6 million in 2017

$2.5 million in 2018

The document does not state if the money came from the local, state, or federal government.

State records show Battle Creek Unlimited received $430,000 between October 2006 and September 2013 from the Michigan Economic Development Organization, the corporate subsidy arm of the state. It was one of several other companies and organizations that received money given in the name of encouraging the development of cutting-edge technologies.

Battle Creek United did not respond to a request for comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.