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Ribbon-Cutting At Revitalized Waterfront Area Signals New Jobs, Opportunity For CommunitySeptember 12, 2013
Culinary school, hotel, restaurant open for business
Three of the four planned entities that are revitalizing Port Huron’s waterfront held a private ribbon-cutting ceremony today attended by approximately 300 business and government leaders. Participants hailed the project as a great example of a successful private-public partnership that has brought hundreds of jobs and new opportunity to the community.
The $24-million project comprises the new Baker College of Port Huron’s Culinary Institute of Michigan, the DoubleTree by Hilton Port Huron, Freighters Eatery and Taproom, and the future 40,000-square-foot Blue Water Area Convention Center, which will be attached to the hotel. The convention center is scheduled to be complete by 2015.
Today was the first viewing of the 23,000-square-foot Culinary Institute of Michigan built specifically for study of the culinary arts and facilitating the open-kitchen concept of European-style training and cooking. It includes seven kitchens and opens for fall-quarter classes Monday, Sept. 30.
The 149-room DoubleTree hotel, including a ballroom and 9,800 square feet of meeting space and Freighters, with a 230-seat dining room, 21-seat bar and an outdoor patio, opened last month.
The complex is located in the Blue Water Area in Port Huron, on the shore of the St. Clair River at the base of Lake Huron.
The project was co-developed by Meritage Hospitality Group and Orion II Construction in a public/private partnership involving the USDA Rural Development, City of Port Huron, St. Clair County, private investors and Baker College of Port Huron.
The convention center, hotel, restaurant and culinary school are expected to generate a $25-million annual boost to the local economy over the first ten years of operation.
Representatives from Baker College, the DoubleTree hotel, Freighters, local, county and state government officials and others involved this phase of the development provided remarks and cut the ribbon today.
Gerry Kramer, owner/broker of Kramer Commercial Realty, served as emcee. Scheduled speakers included:
- Jeff Bohm, Chairperson, St. Clair County Board of Commissioners
- Pauline Repp, Mayor of Port Huron
- James J. Turner, USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan
- Dr. Connie Harrison, President, Baker College of Port Huron
- Gary Rose, Chief Operating Officer, Meritage Hospitality Group
- Randy Romero, Director of Brand Support, DoubleTree/Hilton Worldwide
- John Wheeler, Managing Partner, JB Development Company and partner of Orion II Construction
Joining them for ribbon-cutting honors were:
- Thomas Recinella, CEC®, ACE, AAC®, Director of the Culinary Arts and Food and Beverage management programs, Baker College of Port Huron’s Culinary Institute of Michigan
- John Kuithe, General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Port Huron
- Angela Mann, Vice President of Operations, Hospitality Specialists
As a result of this project, a newly dedicated exit ramp from Interstate 69 was constructed, providing direct access to the property for guests traveling between the U.S. and Canada.
About the Culinary Institute of Michigan in Port Huron
The Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM) is a division of Baker College of Port Huron. The two-story, 23,000-square-foot CIM building provides state-of-the-art, world-class facilities built specifically for the study of the culinary arts. Included are seven kitchens, an Innovation Lab/classroom, additional multipurpose rooms and a 50-seat, fine-dining restaurant that will open to the public spring 2014. The CIM supports the economy by educating and training people so they can secure meaningful employment, feed their families and become productive members of the region. More information is at CulinaryInstituteMi.com
About DoubleTree by Hilton Port Huron
Formerly the Thomas Edison Inn, the DoubleTree hotel reopened in August following a 12-month, multi-million-dollar renovation. The 149-room hotel presents a contemporary design incorporated throughout the building’s classic 1920s aesthetic. It offers 9,800 square feet of meeting space with 13 flexible rooms, a 5,400-square-foot ballroom that accommodates up to 600 guests reception-style, and two boardrooms for professional meeting needs. The hotel is owned by JB Real Estate Development, LLC and managed by Illinois-based management company Hospitality Specialists, Inc. More information is at www.porthuron.doubletree.com.
About Freighters Eatery and Taproom
Freighters is a family-style restaurant that offers locally sourced and hand-crafted classic American fare. It is owned by Meritage Hospitality Group, Inc., one of the nation’s premier restaurant operators, currently operating 113 quick service and unique casual dining restaurants. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Meritage employs a workforce of approximately 3,800 people. Meritage’s public filings can be viewed at www.otcqx.com under the stock symbol MHGU or at MeritageHospitality.com.
About Orion II Construction, Inc.
Orion is a multi-service construction company, active throughout the Midwest, with resources to handle projects of any size and complexity. Founded in 2000, the company provides general contracting, construction management, design/build services, and sustainable/LEED consulting across a wide variety of business sectors. More information is at OrionBuilt.com.
About JB Real Estate Development, LLC
Partners Robert Schermer, Jr. of Meritage Hospitality Group, Inc. and John Wheeler of Orion II Construction, Inc. have completed more than 40 projects over the past 15 years. More information is at Linkedin.com/pub/j-b-contractors.
- Is Baker accredited?
Yes. Baker College is regionally accredited—the highest level of accreditation awarded in the U.S.—by The Higher Learning Commission, A Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, Illinois 60602-2504; (800) 621-7440; Web address: www.ncahlc.org. Baker College is an Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) participant.
Baker has also earned specialized accreditations for programs and degrees in:
- Business Administration
- Early Childhood Learning
- Engineering and Technology
- Health Sciences
- School of Nursing
For details about these specialized accreditations, see the individual Programs and Degrees pages.
- Does Baker provide any help in my job search?
As a graduate of Baker College, you are eligible for our Lifetime Employment Services, which include:
- Job searching techniques
- Resume and cover letter assistance
- Job interview questions
- Job postings
- Relocation tips
- Is Baker College Online accredited?
Baker Online is part of Baker College, a private, non-profit, regionally accredited, degree granting, higher educational institution with locations throughout Michigan.
As an accredited college, Baker College has been granted legal authority by the state of Michigan to operate as a nonprofit educational corporation and is empowered to grant certificates, associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees. It is approved for veterans’ benefits. Baker College is recognized as an institution of higher education by the U.S. Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education.
All Baker Online undergraduate and graduate programs are accredited by the following regional institutional accreditor: The Higher Learning Commission, A Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, Illinois 60602-2504; (800) 621-7440; Web address: http://www.hlcommission.org. Baker College is an Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) participant.
Some Baker Online graduate programs have additional accreditation:
- The MBA program has international accreditation through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).
- The Occupational Therapy program also has accreditation through The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
- How do online classes work?
After you enroll, and are accepted to your online program, you sign-up, or "register" for your first courses. Like all Baker Online students, you will begin your online experience with a three-week online class designed to orient you to the Baker Online classroom, and review the expectations and requirements of Baker Online students. When you have completed this course successfully, you can move on to additional online courses.
- How do I apply for a student loan?
Once you have applied for financial aid, you will receive a Financial Aid Notification package from the Financial Aid office. Your FAFSA serves as the application for the Student Loan. If it is determined that you qualify for student loan funds, the eligibility amounts will be listed on your award notification, and a student Loan Request Form will be included with the award package. The Loan Request Form must be completed and returned to the Financial Aid Office before the loan process can begin.
If you are a new student and would like to request student loan funds to help cover your educational expenses you will need to:
- Complete the paper loan request form indicating the amount you would like to borrow.
- Sign and date the form.
- Return the form to the Financial Aid office.
If you are a returning student and would like to request student loan funds to help cover your educational expenses you will need to:
- Log into the SOLAR system.
- Select STAR System.
- Select Financial Aid office.
- Select Loan Request.
- Select the appropriate financial aid year and click Continue.
- Select the type of loan you would like to request and click Continue.
- Read the Stafford Loan Request Authorization information and click I Agree.
- Type in the requested dollar amount and click Submit Request.