Historic Michigan Inn Energy Efficiency Project Receives $5.5M PACE Loan

PACE Michigan St. Clair Inn
(Photo Credit: Michael Koprowicz, Flickr Creative Commons)

The historic St. Clair Inn located on a scenic riverfront in Michigan is currently undergoing a $35 million renovation. As part of the project, California-based developer Jeff Katofsky received a $5.5 million PACE loan for energy and water efficiency improvements that local officials anticipate will ultimately save about $2 million, Crain’s Detroit Business reports.

PACE, the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, offers Michigan property owners long-term loans for energy efficiency upgrades at fixed interest rates that the owners can repay through their property tax bills. PACE programs must be approved by local governments within the state before financing can proceed. St. Clair County created a local PACE district in June 2017.

Katofsky worked with Levin Energy, G Energy, and Twain Financial Partners to develop the PACE project at St. Clair Inn, Crain’s reported. This was the second PACE project to close so far this year.

Lender Twain Financial Partners financed slightly over $5.53 million for conservation measures such as building insulation and LED lights as well as high-efficiency HVAC, faucets, shower heads, toilets, urinals, and hot water. Energy Star-rated windows, mini refrigerators, ice machines, TVs, and washing machines are also part of the project, according to Lean & Green Michigan’s case study.

Constructed in the mid-1920s, the Tudor Revival-style St. Clair Inn was the first hotel in the country to have air conditioning, according to Crain’s. Renovation began last September and Katofsky aims to have it completed by March 2019. The net 20-year savings for the project is expected to be $1,946,404, the case study says.

Crain’s reported that the plans include three new stand-alone cottages, an outdoor pool, sauna, and swim-up bar, an amphitheater for outdoor weddings, fire pits, and a bocce ball court. Renovations also call for a new man-made beach along the seawall overlooking the river, plus a third floor on the inn’s north wing for 14 suites.

Other PACE projects include the historic Whitney Restaurant in Detroit. Prior to getting the special loan, the owners were paying around $95,000 for electricity and $25,000 for natural gas annually. With upgrades that include a more efficient heating and cooling system, they expect to save $86,000 in annual utility costs and pay less for yearly maintenance.

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