In a groundbreaking, multi-faceted investment to bring value to a host community, FireKeepers Casino Hotel is excited to announce a new initiative, with the symbol for the project being a Hub, as there are many positive spokes surrounding this location. A formal name and logo will be announced in the near future. A first of its kind non-profit hands-on investment by a casino operator will blend a restaurant with large gardens to grow food for local schools and a food pantry to help those less fortunate.
In April, 2016, FireKeepers Casino Hotel and its owners, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi purchased and took possession of Fire Station #4 located on the corner of Kendall and Dickman in Battle Creek. The Fire Station transformation should begin in a few weeks, with a goal to open this fall.
The Hub’s concept was the vision of Michael McFarlen, vice president of food and beverage at FireKeepers Casino Hotel and a 2015 Governor’s Service Award finalist for the state of Michigan. The Hub will contain various “spokes” of a business, including a restaurant with array of sandwiches, thin crust pizza and desserts, an artisan bakery with a wide array of baked good and much needed downtown meeting space.
The most important goal is to give back to the community. The project will accomplish this goal via multiple programs. First, the rear section of the building will house a food pantry in conjunction with the Food Bank of South Central Michigan, distributing food from shelves to those less fortunate. Secondly, farmable land adjacent to the building will be cultivated and Hoop Houses purchased to grow food, with a goal of providing a free salad bar for downtown schools in Battle Creek! Third is the creation of a fund to support local charities, with 80 percent of all restaurant profits and an allocation of 50 cents from every restaurant check providing the monies. The remaining 20 percent of profits will be reinvested in the property.
“The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Pottawatomi is thrilled to be involved in this amazing community initiative,” states NHBP tribal council chairman, Jamie Stuck. “We can deliver the region’s best casino resort product while simultaneously focus on improving the lives of local residents. Supporting the local community is always a goal for us and Chef Michael McFarlen deserves credit for developing the concept”
The location is the Fire Station #4, located at Kendall and Dickman streets in Battle Creek. This fire station, which opened in July 1904, was designed by Hubert C. Scofield and was one of the last to still use horse-drawn equipment. After nearly eighty years of service the fire station closed in January of 1983. The city later sold the fire station to a private resident who made it his home of over 25 years and assisted in its restoration over that time period. In the fall of 2015, the building went up for sale and the FireKeepers team immediately saw its potential. The plan is to continue the restoration process and bring it back to its turn of the century glory.
“The project is going to provide something amazing for the community, including a Restaurant/Bakery, food pantry and much more,” states vice president of food and beverage and executive chef at FireKeepers, chef Michael McFarlen. “This initiative creates multiple different avenues for FireKeepers to improve lives and create culinary options in downtown Battle Creek. We are all really excited about this new endeavor and eagerly anticipate the start of construction in the coming weeks.”