Plans to renovate the old Lamoine Hotel building in downtown Macomb were put on hold when Gatehouse Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.
“We’re waiting to hear for it to finalize and then the transaction to convey the property to Mr. Trotter will take place, and we’re getting information it could be sometime later this month,” said Mayor Mike Inman.
He said the city initially hoped the sale would have been completed by now. He remains “cautiously optimistic” it will happen soon.
In late August, the city announced a preliminary deal for Gatehouse to sell the five-story building to local developer Chris Trotter.
At the time, Trotter said it was important to put a new roof on the Lamoine as soon as possible. The building is already in poor shape and he was concerned about the possible damage caused by another winter with an inadequate roof.
“If it deteriorates any more, we’re probably not interested in it,” Trotter said of the Lamoine in an August 22 interview with Tri States Public Radio. “Time is of the essence, definitely, on this project.”
Trotter’s preliminary plan is to convert the second through fifth floors into assisted living apartments. He must still complete a feasibility study, which won’t be done until he acquires the building.
Inman said the city has a say in how the building will be used, as per an agreement with Trotter. In addition, Trotter must receive city approval to sell the building.
“A lot of safeguards, we believe, built into to the agreement for the city and how the building is ultimately used,” Inman said.
The mayor also said the city has been in touch with representatives from Gatehouse. Inman said they assured the city the sale will go smoothly once the courts finish acting on the bankruptcy filing.
Gatehouse owns hundreds of newspapers, including the McDonough County Voice, the Galesburg Register-Mail, and the Peoria Journal Star. The Voice’s offices were housed in the Lamoine until early this year when they were moved to the former JC Penney building on the west side of Macomb’s courthouse square.