ANOTHER BIG CHANGE coming to West Washington Street downtown.
HOTplate, where you can sit down and create your own work of art, is up for sale, and owner Sue Kensington says if she doesn’t find a buyer for it in the next few months, she’ll be shutting its doors.
N0t an economic problem. It’s just that she and her husband, realtor Dick Huey, are now spending more of their time in Traverse City where they have another home.
“As sad as it would be to close the doors,” she says, “it’s time for me to move on to another adventure.”
She and her husband will still keep their home here.
She founded HOTplate 15 years ago. Loves the business. Loves her customers. And they–young and old–love her and HotPlate.
But times change, people move on. And as great a loss as it would be if HOTplate were to shut down, the greater loss would be Kensington, a former executive director of the Women’s Center, a former city commissioner, and an ever enthusiastic booster of Marquette.
ISHPEMING’S MATHER INN, which has been embroiled for months in a dispute with its tenant, the Cognition Brewing Company, is up for sale.
$2.1 million dollars is the asking price.
It’s another strange twist in the story of one of Ishpeming’s most famous properties that was brought back to life by the Baird family. A beautiful, loving restoration.
Unfortunately, much of that has been forgotten, however, because of the unseemly battle over who-owes-what-to-whom with Cognition.
The Mather Inn has been crucified in the social media, in particular by fans of Cognition. “There’s a lot of maliciousness in social media,” co-owner Robin Baird says. “We have chosen not to take part in it.”
In fact, she’s said very little to even the mainstream media. “They haven’t treated us fairly either. We’ve been misquoted by them.”
She’s clearly disappointed by all that’s happened in the last several months. It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. “We truly like the pairing of the Mather Inn and Cognition. It’s a good fit,” she says. “We like having a brewery there, but there’s just been no cooperation there at all.”
Judge Karl Weber recently ruled against the Mather Inn, however, saying that Cognition was not in default on its lease payments and could stay. But both sides concede that the future of Cognition at the Mather Inn site is murky at best. A mediator has entered the case to try to resolve all the outstanding issues. Not likely anytime soon.
Jay Clancey, the owner of Cognition, would like to stay because of all he’s invested in the place, but he’s skeptical.
And Baird? She simply says, “There will be something there in that space. If it’s not Cognition, it’ll be somebody else.”
An uncertain future, to say the least. And a For Sale sign on the entire property raises even more doubts.
ONE OF MARQUETTE’S gems, the Shiras Planetarium at Marquette Senior High School, is going to be out of operation for at least a few more months.
The problem is that the new auxiliary gym being constructed at the high school shares the same entrance as the planetarium. Until the gym is finished, the planetarium will remain closed.
Best guess is construction will be completed in December, cleanup will follow, and then the grand re-opening will occur in late January. We hope.
Five thousand students and adults use the planetarium yearly. A wonderful teaching tool, and great entertainment, as well.
By the way, the planetarium is in the midst of a fundraising drive to buy a new $300,000 projector. Becky Simmons, the planetarium’s coordinator, says they’re halfway to their goal. The new projector, she says, would be a spectacular enhancement to what’s already a remarkable experience.
LOTTA QUESTIONS BEING asked about that property being cleared on US 41 in Negaunee across from Cattron’s Lumber.
Well, the sixteen acres are owned by Michael’s Homes, and Mike Hill, the owner, says he has plans, only some of which he can divulge now.
He’ll be building a mini-storage facility, and also storage for his homebuilding company. Not especially exciting.
He’s in negotiations to locate other businesses there. Can’t say who because the deals aren’t done yet.
In the meantime, though, the land’s being cleared, and Hill expects actual construction to start on the site within the next week or so.
CONSTRUCTION DELAYS ARE holding up completion of the remodeling of Temple Beth Sholom on the eastside of Marquette.
The Jewish congregation, consisting of about 30 families, was hoping to move into the former Citadel before the end of the year. Now January is looking more likely for the first temple services.
At first, they couldn’t find a contractor, then part of the ceiling caved in during a rainstorm, and then they had the usual array of problems that you’d expect in the renovation of a century-old property.
In the meantime, the congregation has held classes and meetings in the building (away from the collapsed ceiling), and exercised patience.
What they’ll have ultimately is a beautiful synagogue in a classic, restored Neo Greco building that was once a Christian Science Church. Our town is diverse and ever-changing. You wouldn’t want it any other way.
A BUSY WEEKEND.
The second annual Fresh Coast Film Festival starts this evening (Thursday) at the Commons. Free films for the opening event, along with food and fun.
Then the festival continues through the weekend–120 films about the outdoors at several venues around town, along with seven adventures. Tickets are selling more briskly this year than last.
Also Thursday, the Culture of Cult, a pop-up art series, goes on display at the Ore Dock Brewing Company. A big party all night long, just up the block from the Commons.
Forty artists from around the world, including two from China, giving their version of what it means to be in the great outdoors. The official name? “Get Lost.”
AND SATURDAY MORNING, you can “Muck It U.P.”, compliments of the YMCA.
A five kilometer mud run, full of obstacles, on Marquette Mountain.
Almost 300 contestants have signed up to have some fun in the muck.
Afterwards, you can wipe the mud off your face and enjoy the blues at the Masonic Building downtown. Laura Rain and the Caesars, featuring Marquette native George Friend on guitar, will be livening the place up.
Busy, busy, busy in late October, even though summer’s long gone, and the autumn colors are beginning to fade. We got a film festival, an art show, a mud run, and a blues concert all competing for your attention in little, ol’ Marquette.
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