An old motel near Downtown Bay City is getting new life as studio apartments

For decades, a small, inexpensive motel near the Liberty Bridge has been a fixture in Downtown Bay City.

The sign over the arched entryway at 1305 Washington Ave. changed from the Empire Hotel to the Budget Inn, but little else changed until now.

LRC Commercial Real Estate bought the two-story motel in 2023. Since then, the company has re-named it Lux Off Washington. For months, workers have been transforming the old motel into studio apartments designed for college students or young professionals.

Photo courtesy of Lux Off WashingtonThe motel rooms were renovated to include granite counters, shaker cabinets, and new appliances.Property Manager Andrew Layton says the company has tried to keep the historic nature of the building intact while making updates to meet building codes and add high-end touches.

All the rooms are the same size as before, but with new features.

“Picture your standard motel room converted into a nice living space,” Layton says.

The rooms were upgraded to include new cooktops and refrigerators alongside granite counters and shaker cabinets. The bathrooms were torn out and new fixtures installed. Three different floor plans each offer enough space for a single person.

The apartments are small, but Layton says they are functional and perfect for students looking for something near Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University or young professionals who want to live in Downtown Bay City.

“I'm getting a lot of students as prospects, young professionals looking for their first place, and get out from their parents, and build their credit, but primarily young professionals,” says Layton.

Graphic courtesy of Lux Off WashingtonThree different floor plans are shown on the Lux Off Washington website.“The location is great. Close to downtown – they're part the iconic downtown business district. It's right at the edge of downtown a walking distance from all the nice diners and boutiques, cafes, and all that.”

Layton says he is taking rental applications now and expects to open in August. The average rent is $750 a month. Leasing information, floor plans, and a list of amenities are available on the Lux Off Washington website.

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Read more articles by Denyse Shannon.

As a feature writer and freelance journalist, Denyse Shannon has written professionally for over two and a half decades. She has worked as a contractor for daily and weekly newspapers, national and local magazines, and taught introductory media writing at her alma mater – Central Michigan University. She also holds a Master of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University. She and her husband live in Bangor Township and enjoy sailing on the Bay, and are avid cyclists.