THEY’RE NOT QUITE ready to schedule a ribbon cutting, but that large hotel and upscale mall development in Marquette Township is moving closer to reality.
You may have seen the land being cleared on the hill just north of Lowe’s–that’s to make way for the Up the Sky development. Specifically, that’s where a 300-400 room hotel is planned. Guests would actually have a view of Lake Superior from there.
Valdy Biernacki, the managing partner for the development, says representatives from a well-known hotel chain came to town a month ago to inspect the site, and they’ll likely be back within another month to take another look now that the land is being cleared.
Easier to visualize things with clear land. 72 acres of it.
Four upscale retailers have also expressed serious interest, and Biernacki’s convinced that once a few of them commit, the others will follow. Gap? Eddie Bauer? Bath and Body Works? Ann Taylor?
The land clearing finishes up within a week, and the hope is that construction will begin in the spring.
Up the Sky, if plans pan out, would include not only the hotel, but a large conference center and a water park. The idea being, a parent comes to a regional conference, brings along his or her spouse for shopping, and the kids come along for fun in a water park. A tourist destination.
Sounds great. A couple of caveats, though.
- Developers are still trying identify an access road to Up the Sky directly from US 41 (likely between Lowe’s and Smith Construction) but they’ve run into a legal complication. Currently, the main access road would be off of County Road HQ.
- They have no letters of intent yet. Just serious interest from the hotel and retailers.
Still, they’ve invested plenty of money into the project so far. There seems to be no going back. Township manager Randy Girard expects a revised and final site plan within the next few months, prior to the start of construction in spring.
And the Upper Peninsula needs an upscale shopping mall, doesn’t it? Imagine a few dozen upscale stores clustered together in an attractive mall, all within a quarter mile of Target, Walmart, Best Buy, TJ Maxx, Lowe’s, Menards, and Gander Mountain, among others.
That’s a shopping nexus. It might keep some of us in the UP from taking those regular, gas-guzzling shopping visits to Appleton and Green Bay.
Photos from http://uptheskyllc.net.
JEFF NYQUIST, THE founder of the new high-tech company NeuroTrainer LLC, is about to take a huge, daunting jump into the unknown.
He’s opening up a crowd-funding site to 1) raise cash for his fledgling virtual reality business, 2) find clients for it, and 3) build his “Brain Gym” in downtown Marquette.
NeuroTrainer is designing software that can be used by athletic teams–basketball, hockey, soccer, football–to train their brains to focus better, to be more aware of their surroundings in a game…and to simply perform better. Score more goals, deliver better passes, make better split second decisions.
Nyquist believes it may also have application in avoiding concussions. And it may prove to have a huge market for us ordinary folks looking to sharpen our skills, much like Lumosity. Except that NeuroTrainer, he says, is far superior to Lumosity.
He expects to bring his first “brain-trainer” to market in March.
The crowd-funding campaign, which will get underway next week, will be local–just Marquette County and the central U.P.
Funding levels will range from $15 to $500. What’ll you get for your funding support? A bumper sticker, T-shirt, or hoodie for some of the lower rollers…along with your name on a Founders Campaign wall…membership in the “Brain Gym”….and for the higher rollers, your own copy of the game and an invitation to a big bucks Founder’s Club Party later this winter.
Nyquist, who gave up a great job as CEO of Upper Peninsula Home Health and Hospice to start this venture, is a pioneer in Marquette’s brand new Smartzone.
He’s beginning his journey. We here in the U.P.–along with some folks in Silicon Valley–will all be watching.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF how technology allows us to live in the U.P. while doing work that has global impact.
Remember Ana Simovska? She was an anchor and reporter for TV6 a few years ago before moving to New York with Munising tech wizard Tom Dolaskie.
Well, Ana got a job there doing daily TV reports for the American Council on Science and Health. She does stories investigating the latest information and misinformation on breast cancer, sodium, vaccines, pharmaceuticals and the like.
In any case, after a year in the big city, she and Tom decided they wanted to return to Munising (where they got married) and she expected she’d reluctantly have to give up her job.
But no. Her New York employer liked her so much they agreed to have her set up her own, little TV studio in Munising. From there, she attends daily Skype meetings with the staff, downloads video, writes her reports, and files them back to New York.
Amazing. And she gets to live in the U.P.
You can see her at ACSH.org.
LET’S NOT START celebrating yet, but…..
State Representative John Kivela says over the last week, he’s noticed a remarkable and encouraging change in attitude in Lansing on the “dark store” issue.
Legislators who had previously dismissed the issue are now acknowledging there might be a problem. The Municipal League and realtors, and even the Chamber of Commerce have testified before the Tax Policy Committee in the last few days conceding that something might have to be done.
Quick background: Because of a relatively new assessment theory, big stores over the last few years have been getting huge cuts in their tax assessments, thereby slashing revenues to cities and townships. Thereby reducing services such as libraries, 911, and senior programs.
If Kivela’s correct, we may get a new bill or bills introduced in the legislature by spring, with bipartisan support, and possibly passage by summer.
And then..the dark store problem will be resolved. But as we said, don’t start celebrating just yet.
He, of course, was arrested for being “super-drunk” while driving downstate a few weeks ago. It was his first DUI, which brought about his admission that he’s an alcoholic and he’s been fighting it for most of his adult life.
He says he and his attorney are working with the court in Clinton County and he’s hoping to have greater clarity about what exactly he faces by the end of next week.
He says he intends to take full responsibility for his actions.
Jail time, even minimal? Not likely.
In the meantime, he’s staying busy with his sobriety and his work in Lansing.
PARTRIDGE CREEK FARM, the non-profit educational farming group in Ishpeming, is pushing ahead with plans for expansion.
It’s leased a half acre of land at Annie Turney’s Ranchero Caballo in west Ishpeming. Partridge Creek workers have already amended the soil on the land and will start planting in the spring.
Turney, by the way, is an enthusiastic supporter of community farms and already does plenty of it by herself on her 26 acre farm and ranch.
She’s convinced that her farm and Partridge Creek will soon be supplying local stores and restaurants with a substantial portion of their fresh produce.
Locally grown and harvested. Free of chemicals. Gotta love it.
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