Final Chapter for Battle Creek’s Econo Lodge and Attic Lounge
Battle Creek’s embattled Econo Lodge Motel and the iconic Attic Lounge will be nothing but a memory by next week. Demolition on the partially-burned and condemned structure began earlier this week. By today, the only thing left of the 1967 structure is a pile of rubble and a sign.
ACE Excavation & Demolition, Inc. of Kalamazoo is doing the work for $90,000, part of a $600,000 escrow account. City officials say that amount is about one-quarter of the $2.4 million insurance payment to Saber Hospitality, the owners of the motel. Once all work is done, the owners will pocket the left-over funds.
The demise of the motel began to escalate about a year ago when local law enforcement and city officials began to cite the numerous complaints received at 65 Capital Avenue SW in Battle Creek. The City of Battle Creek filed a lawsuit in September of 2019 saying the business was rife with crime and other problems. Police had to go to the motel 475 times from January 2018 to February 2019.
By mid-November of 2019, residents were told they had until December 12th to get out of the motel. Many were living there week to week. Few were just regular guests.
Three weeks later, it mysteriously caught fire. The fire came as the city and Sabar Hospitality had reached an out-of-court settlement to close the motel for 90 days.
A month after that, it stood cordoned off, partially burned, and with investigators still looking for the cause. Police have said it appears that people were still getting inside and staying there.
Finally, in last August of 2020, an agreement was reached and Sabar Hospitality agreed to demolish the building. Soon, it’ll be a 25,000-square-foot grass lot.
The hotel, lounge, and Pancake House next door were all built in 1967, just a few years after major changes to area roadways followed the construction of the Kalamazoo River diversion channel. A lot of memories of area bands playing upstairs in the Attic Lounge remain. The Pancake House remains as well.