The more than century old Chase-Hackley Piano Factory won’t be part of the new Windward Pointe development in Muskegon. Monday night July 10, 2017 the Muskegon City Commission turned down a request from citizens to delay demolition of the building until a committee can study its historical value.
“It is sad, what just happened,” said preservation leader Joe Weber. “It is probably one of the most amazing buildings I’ve ever seen.”
The piano factory is part of the old Sappi Paper Mill site that Pure Muskegon is clearing and offering to potential developers for residential, retail and recreation projects. Investors say they hoped to save the factory at first but now believe it would cost too much to renovate.
“The cost was well above eight million and close to 10 million dollars to repurpose that building,” says investor Wes Eklund. “We have found no one with the financial resources or the experience to come and do it.”
Members of the group “Save the Chase-Hackley Piano Factory” say it dates back to 1890 and was the first factory built as the lumber era was ending. Weber says “We should have the opportunity to save this building, it has historical significance.”
The Pure Muskegon investment group says the remaining smoke stacks and the piano factory on the Sappi property should all be gone by late fall. “It doesn’t give us any great joy to say we need this building to come down,” says Eklund. “But for the greater good of the development we don’t see any viable alternative.”