The city of Hancock will sign off on a purchase agreement with O’Keefe LLC to purchase three Finlandia University properties. Last night during the city’s public hearing to consider the property purchase of Mannerheim, Nikander, and Wargelin halls, residents expressed an understanding that purchasing the structures will jump start any potential developments in the area. Some residents expressed a variety of ideas for what the city could do at the sites, or to encourage developers. The main idea from residents included some sort of housing in the central district. Other residents also noted several other blighted properties around the district, and a desire to see the city think outside the box.
“Instead of selling the dormitory to a developer, why don’t we do something about our housing problem? For people who are just starting, our elderly, our Michigan Tech students. Why don’t we form a housing co-operative. ” – Allan Salmi, Hancock Resident
councilors shared their initial thoughts when approached about the potential purchase by the city. Including hesitation at the idea at first, but determined that in the long term taking over the buildings will benefit the community.
“When I first heard this proposal, I was very concerned about the potential liability we could open ourselves up to. If there’s any kind of contamination, any kind of repairs that have to be made, and all of those issues. However. It was pointed out to me that if we do not make this purchase they sit there. They won’t be winterized, we won’t have those assets. So what we would be left with is a total mess for the next four to five years, before we could acquire these properties.” – Mayor Kurt Rickard, City of Hancock
The Ingham County Court will decide if the state receiver, O’Keefe LLC can abandon six university properties today, including Mannerheim, NIkander, and Wargelin halls. If the receiver abandons the sites they will revert to each lien holder. The city will plan to purchase the three buildings for 10,000 dollars each. After a purchase agreement has been completed Hancock will winterize the structures.