Plans for brewery at Hayden Ford Mill remain intact amid challenges


The Hayden Ford Mill, formerly the Tecumseh Community Center, on East Chicago Boulevard. Herald file photo

Planning for a restaurant and brewery at the Hayden Ford Mill has continued onward, but has been slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic effects.

Ken Heers said he and his business partner Justin Dalenberg are “100% committed” to the venture.

Heers said they are taking time to re-evaluate after costs increased since initially being determined two years ago, and are optimistic that they will receive grant funding that Heers said they need to move forward.

The business would be named the Grand River Tecumseh Mill Haus Tavern, which would have a German-themed, family-style dining experience where food is served on a platter to share between the table. It would also offer beer from the Grand River Brewery located in Jackson.

“I know that everybody in Tecumseh and the neighboring communities are really excited for this,” said Heers, who would co-own the business with Dalenberg. “It’s unfortunate that it has taken as long as it has, but a big part of that is it really has to do with the pandemic and issues it has caused from the standpoint of trying to do construction.”

Heers said they are seeking grant funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for the construction and will apply for it in the next one or two months.

“If we didn’t feel this project would work, if we didn’t feel like we could get the grant money and it wasn’t a viable project, we wouldn’t be doing it,” Heers said. “It fits the criteria for what the MEDC tends to fund. We’ve had conversations with them where they were excited about the potential for this project as well.”

Grand River Tecumseh Mill Haus Tavern will open in late 2023 or into 2024 if everything goes as planned, according to Heers who said remodeling could start at end of this year or start of next year based on when a potential MEDC grant would be accepted.

A third of the Hayden Ford Mill building is currently being used as a senior center, run by Lenawee Department on Aging. The City of Tecumseh would help facilitate moving the senior center to somewhere else, with a possibility being the Lenawee Community Complex on the former Tecumseh Products property, according to Tecumseh City Manager Dan Swallow.

The purchase price of the building is $100,000, per Swallow who said it was built in 1835 and rehabilitated in 1935. If Heers and Dalenberg wanted the tennis courts beside the building, the price would be an additional $125,000.

The tavern would have more than 50 employees and not only offer dining, but also host events such as weddings and graduation parties.

Heers said the lower floor of the building would be for the brewery and event space and the second floor would be for dining, the kitchen and tavern. The third floor would have office space and potentially three hotel rooms.

“The building itself absolutely suits what we want to do,” Heers said. “We’re going to take this building and we’re going to turn it into what we expect to be a really thriving business that’s going to provide jobs, it’s going to be a draw to Lenawee County, and it’s going to really provide what we believe to be the best suited application for that building.”


Tecumseh Herald


110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286

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