Eau Claire hotel slated to be converted into apartments

·3 min read

Sep. 16—EAU CLAIRE — A hotel that's been subject to a lawsuit by the city over the large number of police responses there in recent years is now slated to become apartments.

Doug Clark is proposing to turn the Regency Inn and Suites, 1828 S. Hastings Way, into a 53-unit complex with mix of efficiency, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.

"The apartments will be updated with a modern feel, which will include kitchens and in-unit laundry for each unit," according to his written explanation of his project to the city.

Clark's general development plan for the property and a request to rezone it from commercial use to a residential development are going to be considered at the Eau Claire Plan Commission's upcoming meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.

Following that group's decision, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the project on Sept. 27 before making the deciding vote on rezoning the property on the following day.

If approved, Clark hopes the conversion could be completed in eight months to a year, but already is expecting to face delays tied to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

He's already found that construction materials and parts related to the pandemic, such as meters, are back-ordered for months.

"Also certain appliances have taken longer to get than normal, which could be related to Covid and issues in the factories where the items are made," he wrote.

While some of the hotel's current rooms will be combined to create a few two-bedroom units, plans filed by Clark show much of the floor plan remaining the same.

Existing hotel amenities and gathering spaces will also be reused as facilities for residents. Apartment-dwellers will have use of a pool, hot tub, sauna, exercise area, a small cinema, sports room and pool party rooms.

"The primary goals are to create and preserve a desirable place to live in a clean environment and promote healthy lives with the amenities that are provided," Clark wrote.

His plans show the building's exterior remaining mostly as-is, aside from the addition of a few new exterior doors and balconies for units.

The parking lot around the building will be reduced in area slightly with the addition of more landscaping and a fenced-in grassy area with picnic tables for residents to use.

The Regency Inn and Suites has been the subject of a lawsuit brought by the city in December. The city sued the hotel's owner and operator, Vidhi Hospitality, seeking the closure or sale of the business. That lawsuit was field due to the disproportionate amount of police responses to the property for criminal activity and other reasons when compared to service calls to other Eau Claire hotels.

In May the hotel was listed for sale by local firm Commonweal Development with an asking price of $1.6 million.

While the city's civil lawsuit remains pending, the only activity this year has been a series of scheduling conferences used to set future court dates, according to state's online court records system. The next court date is another scheduling conference scheduled for Nov. 9, based on Wisconsin Circuit Court Access.

This isn't the only Eau Claire hotel slated to be renovated into apartments. In July the City Council approved a developer's proposal to turn the Campus View Inn & Suites, 809 W. Clairemont Ave., into an apartment building.

Other business

Also during Monday night's Plan Commission meeting:

—Oakwood Hills Family Dental is seeking site plan approval for a 5,814-square-foot building on vacant land at 3027 Golf Rd. The new dental practice building would be directly east of Red Robin and share a driveway with the restaurant.

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