Northern Michigan Brewery Buys Motel to House Staff Amidst Affordable Housing Shortage
What does a company do if their employees can't find places to live? A Northern Michigan Brewing Company's solution was to buy a motel.
Short's Brewing Company has purchased the Bellaire Inn to provide temporary, transitional housing for area seasonal workers.
Short's shared the news on Friday saying,
The worker shortage has been a challenge for Short’s Brewing every summer since they can remember, but this year seems worse than ever—housing prices are at all time highs and there is a severe lack of rental inventory.
Short's operates a brewpub in downtown Bellaire and a production facility in Elk Rapids. They are looking to hire about 20 people at the Bellaire Pub and also have several open positions at the beer production facility. Anyone interested in applying can do so here.
Scott Newman-Bale, Short's CEO, said in a release,
We’ve missed out on (non-local) candidates because they can’t find a place to live, and we’ve had employees move out of state because of the lack of affordable, workforce housing. We’re working to get some housing projects shovel ready, but that doesn’t help us out this season.
The brewing company is working quickly to convert and update the Bellaire Inn's 26 units to short term, transitional housing. Each room will come fully furnished, with a bathroom, refrigerator, and microwave. All utilities are included too.
In order to keep costs as low as possible, Short’s plans to operate part of the Inn as a traditional motel and is currently looking to hire a full time, on-site inn keeper.
Short's will hold rooms at the Inn for their upcoming hires, and plans to offer local businesses first dibs on remaining units for their incoming staff.
These aren’t intended to be long term solutions, rather a spot for summer help and full-time new hires to land while they find housing in the area There is still a major need for workforce housing throughout Northern Michigan.
Short's is also taking additional steps to address the housing crisis: They're currently planning The Bellaire Marketplace, a three story development across from the Bellaire Pub with a commerce center on the main floor, and two stories of housing above. The brewing company is also in talks with area residents attempting to secure land contracts for additional market-rate and workforce housing.
Short's Brewing Co. first opened in Northern Michigan in 2004. You can find more on the company's history here. Here's a video they released in 2014, in recognition of the brewing company's 10 year anniversary: