It's always sad when you see a building that holds so much history in your community sit empty, just rotting away. That's why when news broke that this Downtown Jackson treasure, the Hotel Hayes, is a pretty big deal. What the new owners have planned is even better.

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Jackson's Hotel Hayes: A Brief History

The idea came in 1924, as shared by MLive, when a group of leaders in Jackson formed the Jackson Community Hotel Co. with intentions to build and operate a hotel.

From there, the property at 228 W. Michigan Ave. became available, investors got involved with the project and the hotel opened by the end of 1926.

Google Maps (2022)
Google Maps (2022)
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In fact, MLive shares, on November 28th, 1926, there was a sneak peek before the grand opening of the hotel for investors and their families where a local industrialist for Hayes Wheel Co. (later Kelsey-Hayes Co.) was the first to sign the register and the hotel was opened to the public the following day under the name Hotel Hayes.

See Related: Jackson Memories of Hotel Hayes, Kelsey-Hayes, and an Empty Sears

Business boomed at the hotel and it was the center of Jackson's social scene...until it wasn't and, according to MLive, the property was purchased by consumers in 1973 as Hotel Hayes succumbed to mounting debt.

Eventually, as Consumers expanded, the City of Jackson purchased the property in 2002 and it was vacated with heat off, electricity off, everything in 2003.

You can check out JTV's "Inside The Hotel Hayes – Photo Gallery" to see what the former hotel looks like.

Jackson's Efforts to Restore or Transform Hotel Hayes

Over the course of the next two decades, there had been multiple attempts to restore the hotel property to its former glory or give it new life via retail, housing, etc.

More recent attempts to strike a deal came, and fell through, in 2015 as well as 2016, per MLive.

However, MLive reported in September of 2021 that, in 2019 hazardous materials were found within the former hotel discovered during and environmental analysis report.

That definitely added another layer of costs and further urgency to find a way to restore the historic building.

City spokesperson, Aaron Dimick told MLive, "The city is prepared to assist with the redevelopment in any way it can, but funding for redevelopment must come from the developer."

"The city is confident a development partnership will work this time due to recent momentum in investments into the downtown area," Dimick added. This includes an increased desire from people to live, work and play in downtown Jackson."

Jackson Hotel Hayes Sold to J. Jeffers & Co.

On Tuesday, April 5th, 2022, WILX reports the City of Jackson agreed to the $25,000 (yes, you read that right) sale of the former Hotel Hayes building to Milwaukee-based development company, J. Jeffers & Co.

The plan, with J. Jeffers & Co.'s $27.2 million investment, is to transform the 10-story building into 91 apartments as well as commercial and event space, as reported by WILX.

“The Hayes offers the type of restoration potential we embrace and have experience executing at J. Jeffers & Co,” Chief Marketing Officer Scott 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.”

All-in-all, the City of Jackson is also excited to move forward with the project will bring another level of excitement to the ever-growing opportunities for entertainment, dining and other experiences in Downtown Jackson.

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