Officials representing Traverse City’s Park Place Hotel presented a construction proposal for a new Northern Michigan event center, health club and pool at a public meeting held at the Park Place on Monday, February 20. The proposed buildings in the Park Place renovation would occupy the footprints of existing facilities: the new event center will replace the outmoded Park Place dome, which sits east of the Park Place tower on State Street, while a new health club and pool will replace the current pool building located behind the tower.
Demolition and reconstruction are slated to begin by May of 2017, pending approval from local government authorities. While a precise timetable for construction has not been set, the project will take an estimated 10 months, according to Eric Helzer, a real estate consultant working with the Park Place.
The convention center will feature a versatile floor plan and contemporary exterior design. The center’s main, 7,800-square-foot hall will have a variable capacity: 500 attendees when seated at tables, 1,157 when seated, and 1,620 standing. Additional meeting spaces will supplement the main hall’s large capacity: a lecture hall will fit 80 to 100 people, a smaller meeting room will hold another 80, while 9 more rooms throughout the property will provide space for smaller gatherings. Though cumulatively less spacious than the current 12,900 square-foot dome, the new convention facility will provide a level of flexibility that event planners look for in prospective venues, and that the dome cannot offer.
The current pool building will be completely replaced with an up-to-date facility. Tom Biegler of Regency Hotel Management, which owns and operates the Park Place, said that it was unlikely that the new pool would be open to the public, although a concrete decision has not been made in that regard.
Construction of the event center and health club will cost an estimated $4.73 million. The new facilities will create an additional 15 to 20 jobs at the Park Place; officials anticipate that all 120 current positions at the Park Place will be retained upon completion of the project.
Coupled with Regency Hotel Management’s investment in the Park Place is a planned $1.76 million public infrastructure project for the area surrounding the hotel. According to Traverse City Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Rob Bacigalupi, the public projects would improve downtown storm water drainage, replace a water main that services properties adjacent to Boardman, State and Washington streets near the Park Place, and update the streetscapes along Park street. On top of widening Park Street’s western sidewalks, Bacigalupi said that the road may be paved in brick if funding can be approved.
The Park Place’s reconstruction is a pared-down version of previous project proposals, which at one time included two primarily residential buildings and a mixed public-private parking deck. “It became a little bit complex to get all those moving pieces to sync up properly. We needed to move forward with the conference center, so we peeled away those other pieces of the development,” said Helzer.