Minneapolis entrepreneur purchases Eau Claire hotel

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A Minneapolis entrepreneur is taking over the former Ramada hotel in downtown Eau Claire.

During a sheriff's auction Tuesday, Wayne Miller ended up with the winning bid of $1,655,000. He says he plans to renovate the hotel, and get a new franchise.

"That sounds like a good plan, so the city would be interested in hearing more of the details and hopefully it'll go just the way that he said, that he'll put the investment into the building and bring it up to the standards we want to downtown," Eau Claire economic development director Mike Schatz said.

The hotel was up for auction due to foreclosure. Former owner Singh Brothers Properties won the hotel back at an earlier sheriff's auction, but ended up defaulting on payments, and lost its down payment of nearly $150,000. The group was at the auction on Tuesday, but did not bid on the hotel.

Miller has to pay 10 percent of the price initially. He will then have 10 days to pay the rest after an Eau Claire County judge confirms the sale.

The winning bidder, Miller from SBM holdings said he's not affiliated with the past owners, the Singh brothers, and is a commercial lender, doing real estate and telecommunications.

The sale and impending renovations are something his new neighbors are welcoming.

"The hotel has served our customers, we have bus trips and so on that have stayed there. It's almost a lifeblood for downtown. Without that, it would be devastating. So we're happy to see that the direction is back to being a hotel," Dan Goelzer, co-owner of Calico Shoppe Quilt Shop said.

"I feel really great about it, knowing that there's going to be a hotel there, there's going to be more people, there's going to be more people here and our restaurant is going to be more well known rather than just people in Eau Claire knowing about it," Mai Chi with Rice Palace said.

The company made a down payment Monday and will have ten days to come up with the rest after the sale is confirmed.

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