By Catherine Kerley, The Recorder
Albion, MI – The buildings were town down, the ground leveled, and last Thursday several local and state dignitaries took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel in downtown Albion. More than 200 people turned out to witness the historic occasion.
The hotel, which will be three levels with 72 rooms, is a joint venture between Albion College, Shaheen Development and several other partners.
Peggy Sindt, President and CEO of the Albion Economic Development Corporation said seeing the hotel getting closer to reality was “pretty exciting!”
“This is great for the community! It’s going to be a major enhancement to downtown. This is our first really big commercial project. We’ve had some wonderful development with the Ismon House, Kids ‘N’ Stuff, and the Bohm Theatre, all of which were very keen – in fact, they were part of the reason the developer was interested in Albion. He could see that the Albion community had grit and could get things done. That spurred him to think about a project like this. This is the first commercial project on this scale in decades downtown,” she said.
Sam Shaheen, a trustee and alumnus of Albion College, noted that Saginaw and Albion have faced similar issues.
“You could see it when I was a student; you could see it when I came back to visit. As I got more involved with the college it became apparent that Albion paralleled the successes we have had in Saginaw,” he said.
His father started Shaheen Development in the early sixties. “He instilled in my brother Peter and I to make sure whatever we did, it made the community we lived and/or worked in better. Using that as our moral compass, we tried to find opportunities to make communities better. In this instance it was apparent. For the people of Albion there was still a sense of pride, still an ego, if you will, that Albion was a great place, a place that could be reinvented,” he said.
In addition to the speeches there was also a check presentation from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation of $1 million dollars to the downtown Albion hotel.
View photos of the ceremony on Facebook.