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New apartment complex could alleviate labor strain in Petoskey

MI Maple Block exterior.jpg
Joe Barbercheck
Michigan Maple Block Company has been in Petoskey since 1881

A 200-unit apartment complex may be coming to the City of Petoskey.

Affordable housing is one of the biggest issues plaguing cities across northwest Michigan, as communities struggle to hire and retain workers.

The apartments would be located on the site of Michigan Maple Block that had been in the community since 1881 before closing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A private equity firm from Indiana, Great Lake Capital, is leading the development project and working with the city to complete environmental assessments and zoning requirements.

Petoskey City Manager Shane Horn said the bedrock of Petoskey's economy is tourism. More housing, he pointed out, will allow workers to live close to their jobs and reduce long commutes.

"There's a significant issue on the hospitality side as well. We've seen this play out in this in the city where restaurants have to kind of curtail their hours, because they just don't have the staffing to provide high level customer service," said Horn on a call with WCMU.

Horn added the city has also been having trouble hiring police officers. Many of the officers they have on staff currently don't live within the city limits.

"They're commuting in from a ways away because there's not that inventory of housing available at a price point that they can make work," said Horn.

The next step in the project is to re-zone the Maple Block property for apartments. Horn said the city will hold a public hearing March 16 to discuss the zoning proposals.

A price range for the apartments has not been announced.

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.