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NEW INFORMATION: Lender buys former downtown Eau Claire Ramada at auction

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The lender of the troubled former Ramada hotel in downtown Eau Claire has purchased the building at a foreclosure sale.

During the auction on Tuesday, Dougherty Funding of Minneapolis, MN entered the winning bid of $1,450,000 for the building on S. Barstow Street in Eau Claire. It has to pay 10 percent of the price Tuesday, or $145,000. It then has 10 days to pay the remaining amount. Bob McCoy from the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce tells WEAU 13 News that he believes Dougherty Funding will likely try to sell the hotel, instead of running it. Dougherty Funding entered the only bid. A lawyer for the company declined to comment after the sale.

This is the third foreclosure sale for the building in nearly three months. The hotel had remained open, with S&L Hospitality of Verona running it as the Eau Claire Hotel and Convention Center. It closed the hotel last month. The City of Eau Claire owns the adjacent parking ramp, which remains open.

Eau Claire Economic Development Director Mike Schatz said Tuesday's sale is a step in the right direction, but the building's future is still up in the air.

“We're encouraged, we just think now there's more flexibility that they can deal with other interested parties, that they might have somebody in mind already, that they may want to do something themselves, but having it in their control I think is a good thing,” he said.

Both he and Bob McCoy say the downtown area needs a hotel and they hope someone will move into the building soon.

“It's a very unique situation, I think what it says is that everybody wants a hotel, we need a hotel downtown it's just what is the formula that's going to make it happen for the right owner,” McCoy said.

“We'd definitely like to see it continue as a hotel, that a financial investment be made to upgrade the rooms and that significant amount of people could stay down town again. We need that option for that segment of downtown's vitality to have a place where people could come and stay,” Schatz said.

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