New developments boost Eau Claire’s Economy

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The brand new Holiday Inn hotel and it's restaurant Johnny's Italian Steak House has opened its doors in Eau Claire.
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce says new developments mean new dollars making their way into our community.

The Holiday Inn hotel is a 13 million dollar investment into our area. Between the hotel and the restaurant, more than 100 jobs have been generated.

The Chamber of Commerce says with Eau Claire being the “trade center” of western Wisconsin new construction, improved lodging, and attractions help Eau Claire stand out to tourists and visitors.
“Anything that offers more for visitors to do, obviously give us more to offer, and makes it more possibly for people to choose our location over another,” said Visit Eau Claire Executive Director Linda John.

Visit Eau Claire says tourism generated more than 309 million dollars in 2012.

Although food and shopping are a big part of visitor's spending, visitors spend the most on lodging.

“We’ve operated in hospitality industry in Eau Claire for many years and we saw a need for a property with these kinds amenities,” said hotel owner Tom Larson with Larson Companies.

Thomas Larson of the new Holiday Inn believes the hotel will bring new dollars into Eau Claire, money which will spread within the community.

“I think the consumer expects new and improved. Whether it's new or whether it's somebody renovating or keeping up to date; because if you don't, there is too many alternatives, to many other option, and the consumer has just grown to expect that,” said Bob McCoy with Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce.

McCoy says the city needs 100 million dollars a year in new construction to keep moving forward. The number passed 170 million last year.

“There is just a lot going for us. And we're only 90 minutes away from downtown Minneapolis, 3 hours of Green Bay, 3 hours from Milwaukee; it's just strategic location,” said McCoy.

McCoy says location is one of things attracting developers to Eau Claire, which may help the city grow and blossom into more of a tourist destination.

“I really see that more and more private development will come and once that starts to happen, I think then public specter will start looking at private public opportunities as well,” added John.

The Chamber of commerce says as Eau Claire continues to grow and develop, It’s important to see the growth not only in the downtown area, but throughout the community as well.

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