Leelanau County businesses have found an innovative solution to the region’s vexing affordable housing and workforce recruitment crisis. County government, chambers of commerce, and local businesses will team up to build a vast tent encampment at the vacant and abandoned Sugar Loaf property, which was once a cherished ski resort and Leelanau’s biggest year-round employer before gangsters, con-men and real estate tycoons closed it for good nearly 25 years ago. “We had the same housing and workforce crisis in the metropolis of Traverse City,” said Rikardo Liko, former Traverse City chancellor and Leelanau’s current interim county administrator. “But the tent encampment in the pines in the Grand Traverse Commons solved all that. We found that hardworking people who can’t afford to pay $3,000 per month for rent in northern Michigan, and can’t afford a $1 million home on the water, could instead live in tents in the woods and keep our tourism and service economics afloat.”

John Peppler, a fixture in Glen Arbor for decades and an affable realtor with Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors, passed away on August 9 at age 75. He had spent months at Munson Hospital in Traverse City after contracting a tick-borne disease. 

The Sugar Loaf Resort property owner announced today that Taplin Enterprises has been awarded the demolition contract for the former ski resort property. This project is scheduled to begin the last week of June and conclude in October.

Today we’re featuring Leelanau County Commissioner, Democrat Ty Wessell (District 4, Northport), who is running unopposed this election. We asked Wessel the following six questions.

Today at 10 a.m. the Leelanau County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will consider part 1 of a Brownfield Project Application from Sugar Loaf owner Jeff Katofsky and partner Rick Barreca to demolish and reconstruct the derelict one-time ski resort that has sat empty for 20 years in the heart of the County. Katofsky, a real estate developer, lawyer and minor league baseball team owner, acquired Sugar Loaf in 2016.

Jeff Katofsky’s iconic St. Clair Inn on Lake St. Clair is scheduled to re-open in late September. A grand opening will be Saturday, Sept. 21. That’s important for Leelanau County residents, because Katofsky also owns Sugar Loaf, the derelict and mothballed ski resort that has been closed since 2000.

On Friday, Oct. 20, new Sugar Loaf resort owner Jeff Katofsky told the Glen Arbor Sun that he hopes to build a 4-star, year-round resort at Sugar Loaf but wasn’t yet sure about whether it would include downhill skiing.

Jeff Katofsky, who purchased Sugar Loaf resort last November, will return to Leelanau County on Friday, Oct. 20, and meet with the public at 11 a.m. at the Leelanau County Government Center where he will field questions about the path forward for the long-shuttered ski resort.

Jeff Katofsky, the new owner of Sugar Loaf, visited the dilapidated onetime ski resort for the first time on Wednesday, Dec. 14 — a biting cold and snowy day in Leelanau County. Katofsky acquired Sugar Loaf from Remo Polselli this fall.

Last week the Leelanau County Register of Deeds office received documents from a title company in Troy to record the deed transfer for Sugar Loaf resort. But Register of Deeds Dorothy Miller reportedly found errors in the paperwork, including discrepancies between Kate Wickstrom’s signatures in the documentation from March 2013 and now. The signatures may have been forged. Miller confirmed that, as of today, the deed to Sugar Loaf has not been transferred.