Edison Inn ready for renovation

August 31, 2012

Summary: The Edison Inn hotel in Port Huron, Michigan will close on September 5 to begin its conversion to a Doubletree Hotel by Hilton. This hotel will be attached to a new convention center that Convergence Design is helping to design.

By Holly Setter
| Times Herald

A Grand Rapids developer will be collecting the keys to the Thomas Edison Inn on Wednesday.

David Klinesteker, general manager of the Thomas Edison Inn, said the hotel will temporarily suspend operations Sept. 5 as the new owners take possession of the landmark. The last overnight guests are booked through Monday night, he said.

“It is really exciting,” he said. “It’s going to be really exciting for the whole area, seeing the renovations going on.”

JB Real Estate Development closed on the sale of the Thomas Edison Inn property, which was broken into three parcels, Aug. 15 and 16.

Work won’t immediately begin at the hotel, however. John Wheeler, partner in JB Real Estate Development and Orion Construction, said there are a number of things that still need to be completed before renovation starts.

One of the items still on the to-do list is to auction off much of the inn’s furniture and furnishings.

Wheeler said developers are in the process of selecting an auctioneer. Anything remaining after the sale will be donated to Habitat for Humanity or a similar organization, he said.

From that point, the hotel will be stripped “down to the concrete” and remodeled to meet Hilton DoubleTree standards. According to the Hilton website, DoubleTree hotels feature contemporary styling and a warm, welcoming environment.

“Work on the hotel will commence before the end of September and we’re looking at a spring opening,” Wheeler said. “The target date is April 15, 2013.”

Wheeler said he will also be looking for local contractors to do the renovations, as well as assist with building the new Blue Water Area Convention Center and Baker College’s new Culinary Institute of Michigan campus.

“We are trying to get as much of the community involved as we can,” he said. “We want this to be a long-term success for the community. Obviously, not everyone is going to get the bid, but at least if they get the chance to bid, they can feel good about it.”

Bill Kauffman, St. Clair County administrator, said the contract with Orion Construction set a target of 70 percent local labor and 70 percent local supplies for the convention center.

“Let’s say we need a special type of glass that just isn’t available here, then we’ll have to go outside the area for it,” he said. “But we want to know the construction manager is working hard to use local contractors. As long as we know that, we’ll be OK with it.”

Wheeler said work on Baker College’s culinary institute should begin within the next two to four weeks, with the convention center starting as soon as the architectural design is completed.

The target open date for Baker also is April 15. Wheeler said the convention center should be open by Oct. 30, 2013.

Contact Holly Setter at (810) 989-7641 or hsetter@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @hsetter.

Go to http://www.thetimesherald.com/article/20120831/NEWS/308310011/Edison-Inn-ready-renovation?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE&nclick_check=1

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