Alderman opposes plans for WoodSpring Suites on south side

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:54 pm

Milwaukee Alderman Terry Witkowski said he opposes plans for a $9.5 million, four-story, 124-room extended stay hotel on the city’s south side because he says the project will diminish residents’ quality of life.

WoodSpring Suites has been attempting to open its first Wisconsin hotel at 1701 W. Layton Ave., near General Mitchell International Airport, since 2016.

On Dec. 27, the Wichita, Kansas-based company purchased an 11-acre vacant parcel of land from the state of Wisconsin for $1.75 million for the project. The site is located southwest of I-94 and Layton Avenue. To the west and south is a residential neighborhood. To the north, across Layton Avenue, is the Milwaukee Airport Inn hotel.

On Wednesday, Witkowski issued a press release saying WoodSpring Suites would have been wise to apply for a hotel license before spending any money on the land.

“I anticipate dozens of neighbors to oppose this (proposed) hotel at this site,” Witkowski said. “This is a neighborhood where many municipal employees live, including police officers who have had direct experiences responding to calls at low cost weekly stay hotels. They would like to see a use that enhances the area, and will not drive them from continuing to reside in the City of Milwaukee.”

WoodSpring Suites has not responded to multiple requests for interviews since Tuesday.

“Brian Randall, a local government attorney with Friebert, Finerty & St. John, represents WoodSpring but declined to comment on the specifics of the hotel license issues or the statements by Witkowski.

‘WoodSpring has tried to work with Alderman Witkowski throughout the process and that they will continue to do so as WoodSpring invests $9.5 million to build its first Wisconsin hotel in the City of Milwaukee on land that was previously tax exempt,” Randall said.

WoodSpring Suites did business as Value Place until Spring 2015, when a new investment group acquired the majority interest and hired new management, Randall wrote in a June 2017 letter to the city’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee.

All of the WoodSpring’s corporate-owned hotels were rebranded and updated. The Milwaukee hotel would be a corporate-owned and managed property.

Getting to the point of the company purchasing the site from the state has been a long road. A disagreement between WoodSpring and the Common Council over the certified survey map led to litigation. WoodSpring Suites ultimately prevailed and received approval for the map in October. The next step will be obtaining a license from the Common Council.

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