GREEN BAY - Packers purchase Road Star Inn
The Green Bay Packers have purchased the Road Star Inn hotel near Lambeau Field.

With this sale, the Packers now own 24 properties west of the stadium including all of the properties in the area from Ridge Road to Marlee Lane and from Lombardi Avenue to Brookwood Drive.

The Packers have not announced specific plans for the area yet.

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BELOIT - Ho-Chunk confident in Beloit casino plan
Ho-Chunk President Jon Greendeer said he is glad Gov. Scott Walker made a ruling on the Menominee casino proposal for Kenosha, adding he was surprised by the timing of the decision.

Greendeer wouldn’t comment on whether he was happy with the decision even though the Ho-Chunk Nation officially opposed the Kenosha project. He added he was expecting Walker to wait until the Feb. 19 deadline to make the decision.

The Ho-Chunk is in the middle of a proposal to build an off-reservation casino in Beloit, however Greendeer said there has been no update on their project status.

He was still confident their applications would be approved based on a compact the Ho-Chunk Nation has with the state, which permits the Ho-Chunk to build another casino in the state.

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MADISON - T. Wall eyes East Mifflin block for latest Capitol East development
Developer T. Wall Enterprises is looking to up the housing density on a key east side Madison block with a four-story, 189-unit apartment at the corner of East Livingston and East Mifflin streets.

The site, known as the Reynolds Crane Lot, has been eyed for redevelopment for several years. It is located in the shadow of the 12-story, 220-unit Constellation apartment tower which helped jump-start redevelopment in the Capitol East District.

Dubbed the Livingston Lofts, the T. Wall project would put four stories of residential space above a single level of parking that extends out from the footprint of the building.

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MADISON - East Wash apartment plan has creative use for old Quonset hut
Calling it a "hidden gem," McGrath Property Group is looking to convert a worn Quonset hut building on East Washington Avenue into a cool workplace or restaurant space as part of a 76-unit apartment project dubbed Few Street Lofts.

The building at 1212 E. Washington Ave. currently houses Patriot Glass but developers are looking to remove the front façade to expose the barrel-vault structure behind it.

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GREEN BAY - Construction companies face ongoing worker shortage
The most prized skill in the construction industry is showing up for work every day.

The construction industry was hammered by the 2007-09 recession and its effects. Many workers left the industry to seek more secure jobs or because there was no work, and a number of companies closed. The recovery was faster in manufacturing and other areas, and that, too, siphoned off skilled workers.

Now that construction is recovering, a lot of workers aren't coming back and many construction firms have a shortage of skilled trades labor.

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BELOIT - Buffalo Wild Wings flying into Beloit
Buffalo Wild Wings could be coming to Beloit soon.

The former Atlanta Bread building, at 2747 Milwaukee Road, has been sold and the new owner has received a lease from Buffalo Wild Wings to convert the building into the new restaurant.

Drew Pennington, Beloit director for planning and building services, said the city is currently reviewing the plans.

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RIB MOUNTAIN - Panda Express restaurant and tea bar busy since opening
The new location of a chain of casual-dining Chinese restaurants continues to thrive after opening last month.

Panda Express opened mid-December at 4400 Rib Mountain Drive, at the former site of a Wendy's restaurant that burned down in 2013.

The new location has been steadily busy since opening, said Erick Yonata, the local coach of operations with Panda Express.

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DODGEVILLE - Lands' End stock drops after preliminary estimates fall below expectations
Lands’ End stock fell as much as 25.9 percent in early trading Thursday after the Dodgeville apparel retailer gave an advance look at its estimated results for the fourth quarter and full 2014 year that did not meet expectations.

For the fourth quarter, sales and services are expected to total $505 million to $515 million, down from $530 million a year ago, and net income is likely to be $34 million to $37 million, or $1.06 to $1.60 a share, down from $45.9 million, or $1.44 a share, the company said.

The company also said a reduction in the number of Lands’ End stores at Sears and stand-alone company costs contributed to the lower anticipated results. Lands’ End split off from Sears Holdings Corp., its parent company of 12 years, last April.

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MADISON - Hotel developer may seek TIF for Pahl Tire site downtown
A developer still seeking city OK for a new 10-story hotel a block east of the Capitol Square may also seek public financing assistance for the redesigned project.

The North Central Group of Middleton has revised plans for a 164-room Marriott AC hotel at the corner of East Washington Avenue and North Webster Street. Its initial proposal was narrowly rejected by the city Plan Commission in September because of the building’s height, among other concerns.

The new plans include moving the lounge, restaurant and public spaces to the upper floors to capture better views of the downtown. It also doubles the number of parking spaces to 80 and moves the building farther back from the street.

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WAUSAU - CoVantage buys First Avenue Associated Bank building
A landmark building on Wausau's near west side — the former home of Associated Bank — is now in the hands of another financial institution.

The mirrored building at the corner of Stewart and First avenues was purchased by CoVantage Credit Union, according to online records from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, although the credit union's plans for the property aren't clear.

The purchase price, which includes the property on which the building sits at 303 S. First Ave. and the parcel just to the north, at 213 S. First Ave., was just over $1 million, according to the records. A parcel on the other side of First Avenue, at 102 Callon St., where a parking lot is located, also changed hands.

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SHEBOYGAN - Pier 17 ready to fill gap left by Brisco County
To say people are happy to see a new restaurant in the old Brisco County building is an understatement. Brisco County Wood Grill closed down abruptly in November 2013 after nearly 15 years of operation.

Randall’s Frozen Custard owner Wendy Vera — who notes her Randall’s was separate from the business of the same name that used to operate prior to Brisco County — said she and friends missed the restaurant, since they used to spend time there on days when other restaurants in the area were closed on Mondays or Tuesdays.

The investment intrigued Vera, who co-owns the business with Stange and Stange’s husband, John, who used to run Haven Bar and Grill. The group formed under the name Pier 17 — a reference to both the numbers of the dock spaces near the harbor restaurant and the combined sum of the restaurant’s address, 539 Riverfront Drive — and rented the building from Milwaukee investor Jason Luther, who purchased the building.

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MAYVILLE - School District puts $23 million referendum on ballot
Residents of Mayville will have the opportunity to vote on a $23 million for improvements to the high school.

The School Board voted unanimously to put two referendum questions on the April 7 ballot.

The first question seeks approval of the initial resolution approved by the board for $19.3 million of improvements to the high school. The improvements would include a new high school office, new classrooms, a new auditorium, renovation and improvements of the existing building and site improvements at the high school.

The second question seeks approval for $3.7 million for the purpose of constructing a new gymnasium.

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FOND DU LAC - Commonwealth Companies awarded for downtown projects
Louie Lange III and The Commonwealth Companies took home major awards at the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership's annual meeting held Thursday at Retlaw Plaza Hotel.

Design of the Year was presented to Commonwealth for the Riverside Senior Apartments, a new five-story construction project within walking distance of the heart of downtown. It features a heated garage, internet café, community room, beauty salon and exercise room.

Louie Lange III and The Commonwealth Companies were recipients of the 2014 Friend of Downtown, an annual award given to a person or organization with a major impact on the partnership.

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VERONA - Mayo Clinic chooses Epic Systems as its new provider
Epic has landed a prestigious new client — Mayo Clinic — wooing it away from two big competitors in a deal that could help other Madison area companies as well.

Epic Systems Corp., Verona, will install electronic health records and billing systems for Mayo, replacing current providers Cerner and GE.

The new system will be “a foundation for Mayo Clinic operations over the next several decades,” the Rochester, Minnesota, health care organization said in a news release.

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APPLETON – Common Council resurrects exhibition center
Aldermen resurrected the effort to build a Fox Cities Exhibition Center in downtown Appleton Wednesday, but they didn’t have enough confidence in the project to move it forward.

The Common Council voted 11-3 to reconsider its Jan. 7 action that rejected the city’s purchase of an Outagamie County parking lot on which the $27 million exhibition center would be built.
The council then sent the issue to the Community and Economic Development Committee for further study. At some point, the purchase will be brought back to the council for action.

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