MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – UP Health System – Marquette, a Duke LifePoint hospital, and the Northern Michigan University Foundation (NMUF) announced additional details regarding efforts to increase the viability of redevelopment at the previously occupied hospital property on College Avenue.

Both parties are currently conducting due diligence. If this transaction proceeds, UPHSM would transfer the property to NMUF for a purchase price of $1, along with an additional $10 million for prepaid rent and financial support that would help offset the high costs associated with preparing the site for development. 

“This project has the potential to be transformative in many ways,” said Brad Canale, CEO of the NMU Foundation. “The overarching objective of the NMU Foundation Board of Trustees is to facilitate a beneficial outcome for NMU and the Marquette community.”

The two entities say the property’s location, which is adjacent to the NMU campus and centralized in the city of Marquette, offers a variety of redevelopment opportunities that would benefit both the university as well as the greater community.

“We are thrilled to have reached a tentative agreement with the NMU Foundation,” said Gar Atchison, Market President of UP Health System. “All along, our commitment has been to identify the right long-term plan for this campus, keeping in mind the interests of the surrounding neighborhoods and communities we serve.”

NMUF is currently working with local and state government entities as well as private sector experts in conducting due diligence before it decides whether or not to move forward. These efforts include a partnership with the Marquette Brownfield Redevelopment Authority in supporting environmental due diligence on the site, which is currently underway. The due diligence and planning process is expected to be complete by spring 2022. 

“NMUF will only proceed toward closing on the agreement if due diligence efforts reveal that demolition of the existing complex and redevelopment of the site can occur in a way that is both financially viable and beneficial to the university and community,” said Canale. “A critical factor in this evaluation will be the availability of funding to offset the sizeable expense of demolishing the current complex.”

Near the close of the transaction, NMUF will issue a request for qualifications from master developers, which would result in a private development partnership where NMUF has a limited role as an equity investor. Any future development would also significantly enhance the tax base of the property and support services to Marquette residents. 

“We look forward to seeing this property in the heart of Marquette revitalized,” Canale added. “Evaluation of the site is now underway. More work needs to be done, and we remain focused on the due diligence process and thoughtful approach to this significant project.”