After sitting vacant for nearly two decades, a historic building in Downtown Jackson is getting new life. At their Tuesday, April 5 meeting, the Jackson City Council approved a $25,000 sale of the Hayes Hotel property to J. Jeffers & Co. for a proposed development.
The Milwaukee-based developer is planning a $27.2 million investment to rehabilitate the 10 story historic building to include 91 apartments, along with event and commercial space on the first two floors. The market-rate apartments will be a mix of studio, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom units.
The Hayes Hotel property is located on W. Michigan Avenue in the heart of Downtown Jackson. Built in the 1926, the building functioned as a hotel until 1975. Consumers Energy used the property for office space until 2003. The City of Jackson took control of the building in 2004. For the past 18 years, the City has been preserving the building for future development and looking for a buyer.
Efforts to sell the property picked up steam last year when the City started collaborating with the Anchor Initiative for economic development. Scott Fleming, CEO of the Anchor Initiative, was instrumental in promoting the Hayes for re-development. “The Hayes development will be a tremendous project for the City,” Fleming said. “With the approved sale, Downtown Jackson will experience a major economic impact.”
J. Jeffers & Co. has previously completed sizable rehabs of historic buildings in Milwaukee. Chief Marketing Officer Scott Schwebel says the company is excited for its first project in Jackson. “The Hayes offers the type of restoration potential we embrace and have experience executing at J. Jeffers & Co,” Schewebel said. “From returning the lobby and ballroom to their luminous stature, to activating the ground floor and the building’s street presence, to the overall historic preservation and further re-imagining of its use once completed, adding more density and programming to downtown while preserving a legendary property.”
The property sale is welcome news to many in the community who have been wanting to see the Hayes building brought back to its former glory. “The sale of the property to a firm that has so much experience in revitalizing historic buildings gives us hope that this iconic building will be brought back to life and add to the renaissance happening in Downtown Jackson,” said Jacqueline Austin, Chair of the Jackson Downtown Development Authority. “As this project moves forward we will see added energy to the area with opportunities for more residents, retail, and restaurants in the west end of downtown.”
There is currently no timeline for when construction will start on the new development.
Rendering of what the redevelopment of the Hayes could look like.