By Tony Wittkowski | Staff Reporter | Central Michigan Life
Negotiations between Central Michigan University and Lodgco Hospitality LLC to construct a hotel on campus continue without controversy.
Michael Smith, president of Lodgco, said there have been no setbacks in the process.
“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from Central Michigan University and the city of Mount Pleasant,” Smith said.
The CMU Board of Trustees granted University President George Ross authority to negotiate a land lease agreement with Lodgco at the Dec. 2 board meeting.
Lodgco proposed building a Holiday Inn hotel and stadium suites east of Kelly/Shorts Stadium to be completed in time for the 2012 football season.
Smith said he does not anticipate any problems during the design stages of the hotel.
“We’re just going ahead on the time lines and looking for different architects, and securing actual drawings within the next 60 to 90 days,” Smith said.
Preliminary plans for the hotel presented to the board include include indoor and outdoor pools, exercise facilities, a business center, restaurant, conference space and more. The stadium suites will be connected by a glass atrium to the hotel.
According to previously published reports, Smith estimated the project would cost $22 to $25 million total. Because it is a private development, university funds will not be used.
Ross cannot execute the lease until the board approves it if it is presented during the next meeting scheduled for February. A special meeting could be called to vote on the agreement specifically if the lease negotiations are ready before then.
LaBelle lawsuit update
General Counsel Manuel Rupe said the litigation between the LaBelle Limited Partnership and the board of trustees, filed by LaBelle in November 2008, is not related to the current hotel and stadium suites project.
LaBelle is accusing the board of an intentional breach of covenants when it gave former University President Michael Rao full authority at a 2008 meeting to sign a lease with Lodgco in order to construct the six-story hotel complex.
“The LaBelle litigation involves the CART (the Center for Applied Research and Technology) south of the CMU campus … and their claim as to exclusivity within the CART for hotels, conferences, and restaurants,” he said.
Steve Smith, director of public relations, said the case is still pending.
“The case is still scheduled for trial this spring,” he said.
According to previously published reports, LaBelle is suing for a halt on leasing the land to other parties and is seeking restitution for legal fees. However, they are not seeking additional money.
LaBelle’s public relations department declined comment when contacted by CM Life and LaBelle management could not be reached for comment.
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 13, 2011)