Houghton Looking Into Development Potential of Vacant Lots in the City

HOUGHTON – The city of Houghton is looking for a facelift in some areas. City Manager Eric Waara mentioned several properties during last week’s council meeting. The downtown parking deck was among them. The structure takes up a total of 1.7 acres. And if city officials decide to demolish the parking deck, they need to consider existing right-of-ways on Dodge and Pewabic streets. That just means more paperwork if they turn that area into buildable lots.

The one on the east side is about 1.1 acres. West side is about 0.6 acres. Of course we gotta maintain a road trough there. And the private property in the middle. – Eric Waara, Houghton City Manager

The city identified several other properties that could be developed in the future. The City Center has been an area of concern for years. Waara said the property would fit well as future downtown housing, retail or mixed use.

Lots owned by the city, you know the city could buy and sell property just as anything else. Typically the city owns property for a use. And when they sell that, hopefully it’s for a better use. – Eric Waara, Houghton City Manager

Other potential redevelopment projects include more than 100 plus acres behind Wal-Mart. The biggest challenge to developing that area is its proximity to a very busy section of town. It’s also not as desirable as other spots due to  access. Another possible site is the Houghton RV Park. Currently the park makes enough money to cover operation expenses. But with the new Keweenaw Waters Resort coming into town next year, it may be a good time for the city to move off of the RV park’s location.