Another attempt to revive the former Gibson factory in Kalamazoo

There is another plan afoot in Kalamazoo, MI to revamp the property that once housed the Gibson factory, including a new hotel, museum, gym, and more on the site where Gibson operated from 1917 to 1984. A similar plan announced in 2016 was never realized, but a new group of investors feels quite confident that their vision will be realized by 2023. And yes… the iconic Gibson smokestack will be preserved.

Current plans are for PlazaCorp Realty Advisors and Dora Hotel Company to build a Reverb by Hard Rock hotel, which caters to a young, music-minded clientele, on this spot. Reverb is expanding aggressively from their original Atlanta property at this time, with new facilities announced in Sonoma County, CA, and Tampa and Miami, FL in addition to the Kalamazoo site. Their concept is to offer inexpensive, convenient accommodations for younger professionals accustomed to meeting in groups in spaces designed for their lifestyle. A music theme permeates all of these hotels, and they book popular local artists to perform in the lounges and cafes in each location.

This new Reverb hotel would also include a Body Rock fitness gym, a bar and restaurant, and a brewery on site. They plan to build an auditorium for concerts and a museum to retain the memories of the many prestigious artists and performers who signed contracts there with Gibson.

The Heritage Guitar company will retain space in these new plans, continuing to build high quality arch top instruments as thy did prior to Gibson’s relocation to Nashville in 1981. When the company left, a number of trained luthiers decided that they didn’t want to move to Tennessee, and arranged to purchase much of the older equipment from their former employers, and continue building under a new name.

Multimillion dollar investments will be required to put this plan in effect, but PlazaCorp Realty and Dora feel certain that they can pull this off and open the facility in the fall of 2023.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.