There is need for a waterfront hotel in Alpena

Steve Fletcher’s recent column about the need for a quality hotel on the waterfront is right on the mark. It should be on US-23S probably at Mich-e-ke-wis park – as the hotel would need the exposure to US-23 traffic. A public vote to sell might be difficult, how about a long-term lease with a provision the beach itself remain open to public use. The beach would have much more public appeal, use and activity – likely to result in sailboat, kayak, paddleboat and jet ski rentals, maybe parachute rides and perhaps a beachfront refreshment stand/tiki bar and maybe a dock or pier. The public would still own the land, gain tax base and lease revenue.

The Tawas Bay Beach Resort has had a very positive impact on Tawas. Mackinaw City has 15-20 hotels and motels along the Lake Huron shore. Alpena has a couple of small older properties. It is absurd that Alpena has nothing comparable.

Such a facility would also have a very different price point – probably $200 a night plus and should bring in a different group of customers. That would mitigate the damage of increased competition on existing lodging properties. That would be further reduced by the increased 5 percent room assessment revenue which would fund additional promotion.

Alpena is losing some large groups due to a shortage of hotel rooms. But you can’t support another non-lakefront chain hotel on the overflow from 5-10 events a year without damaging you existing properties. You need to broaden your appeal to guests who would otherwise not be coming to Alpena – by being on the lakeshore.

Go out and sell the lease concept to the public even if a vote isn’t required and then issue a “Request for Proposals” to hotel developers.

Jack Matthias