Eau Claire (WQOW) - It will take a lot to turn the old Green Tree Inn and Suites into a modern day downtown Eau Claire hot spot, but developers have received several green lights to continue on with the project.
Tuesday afternoon developers gathered to present plans for The Oxbow Hotel, formerly The Green Tree Inn and Suites, at 516 Galloway Street.
"Putting a big box out by the highway full of hotel rooms is a lot cheaper than rehabbing old facilities right down town,” Nick Meyer, one of the developing partners involved with The Oxbow, said at the project's reveal Tuesday afternoon. “So it's just an expensive project. We wanted to do it at a high level of quality and in order to get there and have it have the benefit that we needed to have, we were just a little bit short on the money and so having some grant funds available is a very beneficial thing.”
Meyer told News 18 it's about a $4 million project, which is why he's extremely grateful for the recent $500,000 grant that was awarded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The City of Eau Claire also plans to match half of that grant with a $250,000, zero percent interest, loan. The loan does have one stipulation. It needs to be repaid in 13 years.
Plans were released Tuesday afternoon to during a ceremony. The hotel will have 30 rooms, and will also be a place where people can come to rent bikes, canoes, kayaks, and tubes. There will also be a restaurant, bar, outdoor patio and music venue. The hotel's name is a tribute to Eau Claire's history, and unique waters. The owners will focus on the outdoors, music and arts for the property's design aesthetic and ongoing programming, according to Downtown Eau Claire Inc.
Downtown Eau Claire Inc. also said $3 million in private investment and commercial financing will help keep the hotel running.
Developers hope to open The Oxbow by the summer of 2016.