Dowagiac entrepreneur developing new short-term rental property

DOWAGIAC — Desmond Lathan has been a busy man the past seven months.

The Chicago real estate associate and Dowagiac entrepreneur is gearing up to debut his latest venture, Hatch Street Manor, a new short-term rental property located just outside of the Dowagiac city limits.

Described as a “southwest Michigan boutique guesthouse,” Hatch Street Manor is a 2,000 square-foot space featuring four bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms that sits on three acres of land. The home will feature a home theater, an expansive deck with dining for more than 16 people, a firepit and a “tiny house” on the property.

Lathan hopes to create an “outdoorsy, woodsy, boutique experience” for Dowagiac guests.

“My previous style was old Victorian houses,” Lathan said. “I feel like this will give people more of a unique experience for Airbnb — acreage, trees and outdoors. I did Airbnb in town, and it was great. People loved the backyard, but you’re still on a busy street, and cars are going by.”

After buying a downtown Dowagiac home in 2015, Lathan found success using the home as a short-term rental property when he would travel to Chicago. After four years of using the house as an Airbnb, Lathan sold the house at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and purchased the Hatch Street property in September of last year.

Dowagiac’s centralized location in relation to popular destinations makes it an attractive area for Airbnbs, Lathan said.

“The thing that I liked most was that, from both a rental perspective and from my own experiences with entertaining, you could take the Amtrak here,” Lathan said. “It was just a two-hour drive from Chicago, and then you could always explore the surrounding towns by spending the weekend here. I feel like that is what kind of sets Dowagiac apart versus renting a place in St. Joseph on the beach, where you know, that’s what you’re gonna get. This is kind of like you go up to Stevensville, you go to St. Joe, you go to Three Oaks. You’re centrally located, which is really good.”

Since purchasing the Hatch Street property, Lathan has been busy renovating the home from the ground up and enlisted Cassopolis-based Ivens Construction for its services. Construction delays, the high cost due to lack of available materials and the availability of good workers has slowed the process, but Lathan expects construction to be finished in June and the house being available for rentals and events starting in July.

Lathan looks forward to opening and believes the quiet, comfortable and secluded space will be attractive to travelers looking to relax amid the ongoing pandemic.

“I think this is going to be the type of traveling people do this summer,” he said. “People are still kind of nervous to go on a long excursion or flight somewhere, but this will be great because groups and families are looking for a weekend getaway from the city. If you’re working from remotely, the last place you want to be is in the city or stuck in a studio apartment. That’s why I’m excited to do this because I feel like people will enjoy nature more so than just being in a hotel.”

Interested parties can find more information online at Hatchstreetmanor.com.

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