EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (RELEASE FROM VISIT EAU CLAIRE)-- Local developer Pablo Properties, the entity that is building the new JAMF Software building, has purchased the former Ramada Hotel in downtown Eau Claire.
The 123-room hotel, which has been vacant since closing its doors on November 24, 2013, will be completely remodeled and reopened under the new ownership looking to help restore downtown Eau Claire.
The current building was built in the 1970’s by Hilton and has seen several different owners in the past 40 years. Recently, the property fell into disrepair and was eventually closed after an auction put it back in the hands of the original bank.
Pablo Properties, led by local JAMF Software owner Zach Halmstad, says, "This property was the center of downtown when I was growing up. We went there for holiday meals and special events. We’ve seen it deteriorate over the last 10 years to the spot that businesses refuse to house their visitors there," and he hopes to change that.
Plans include reducing the number of rooms to between 80-90 to accommodate suites and long-term stay rooms, renovation of the existing convention center, and the addition of a coffee shop and new restaurant. "We have an incredible amount of shared space in the building, but it is not well maintained and is poorly utilized. We have plans to redesign the entire first floor and house a restaurant that focuses on great, locally sourced food. We hope that this space will be a benefit both for travelers and local citizens," Halmstad said.
With the renovations happening at the former Green Tree Inn, and a revitalized meeting space in the convention center at this new property the downtown may once more return to a viable option for meeting planners. "We keep track of groups that want to come to Eau Claire with a specific request for a downtown property. For the past few years we have been unable to accommodate them at a quality property," says Linda John, Executive Director of Visit Eau Claire, "this has translated to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of lost potential business for Eau Claire. This announcement by Pablo Properties has huge economic impact potential for Eau Claire, while also serving the local community that has had to look elsewhere for reliable meeting space."
So far, a name for the new hotel has not been chosen. Pablo Properties is working with Empirical Hotel Investments as a hotel advisor. The groups are currently exploring franchise options, as well as the feasibility of opening as an independent hotel.
Market & Johnson has been selected as the general contractor and is working with Pablo on an aggressive timeline. The hotel will be reopened before the end of 2014.
Pablo Properties is led by Zach Halmstad, and is focused on improving Eau Claire's downtown area by building a new class A office space for JAMF Software, as well as the renovation of existing properties. Pablo Properties is one of five investors on the former Green Tree Inn. The two hotel properties will work together to create efficiencies and share services while still creating two distinct identities.