The Buzz: New Grand Chute Holiday Inn nixed

Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn will search for a new site in Grand Chute.(Photo: Courtesy of Wisco Hotel Group)

GRAND CHUTE – Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn developers have canceled plans to build on a plot of land on South Maple Hill Drive.

At this point, we re going to move on and look elsewhere, Todd Winkler, Wisco Hotel Group’s president and COO, told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin on Tuesday. The Madison-based hotel ownership group had intended to build two structures a Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn and a Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn Express on land southeast of the intersection of College Avenue and McCarthy Road, on West Lawrence Street, behind Grand Central Station. The project was estimated at $20 million, and two hotels were scheduled to open in 2018 and 2019.

We ran into some soil issues there that added some extreme costs to the construction that we weren t aware of, Winkler said. We ve decided we re going to look at other sites in the Grand Chute area. We intend to still be in the ground next year with the Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn. There are plenty of sites around.

Homeowners whose properties surrounded the now-nixed site opposed the project because of loss of privacy and the disruption from the hotel’s light, noise and round-the-clock activity in their backyards. They signed a petition and spoke at the town s March 1 plan commission meeting. The commission s vote on the hotel s rezoning was postponed that night, and was again taken off the March 15 plan commission agenda at the developer s request because of ongoing soil testing. Did the neighbors’ opposition influence Wisco s decision?

I can t say it didn t, Winkler said. We really liked the site, but we don t want to go into an environment that s unfriendly to our project.

He said the cost of the project will not change with a location switch unless land costs elsewhere are appreciably higher. His company s agreement to purchase the South Maple Hill Drive property had been contingent on soil and building conditions.

Where we wanted to build, there was bedrock underneath. It s where we wanted to put the retention pond and the footings of the hotel. It adds cost to the construction because you have to blast that out. It was a large area of bedrock, Winker said. It s not saying someone else couldn t build on that site.

It just didn t work out for us.

The Buzz: New Grand Chute <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Inn NixedBuy Photo

The rejected building site in Grand Chute was a wooded area behind Grand Central Station. (Photo: Maureen Wallenfang/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

Bob Buckingham, Grand Chute’s community development director, confirmed that the site was off the table. It will not be discussed at the April 7 plan commission meeting.

The Wisco Hotel Group withdrew its applications for rezoning and special exception approval at the South Maple Hill Drive site, so these items will not be on the plan commission agenda, he said. Homeowners in the South Maple Hill Drive area, meanwhile, learned of the development from USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

“Wow. I’m thrilled and very pleased. I’m a little bit shocked,” said Michelle Wrobleski, one of the adjacent homeowners mid-day Tuesday. “Everybody in the neighborhood knows about that bedrock”

She added, “The other side of College Avenue would be a more appropriate place for the hotels.”

The existing Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn near Interstate 41 in Grand Chute, meanwhile, will operate as a Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn through Sept.

2017.

Its owners are seeking to re-brand it as a DoubleTree hotel at that time.

Maureen Wallenfang: 920-993-7116, or

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