Few vacancies

The Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center, which opened in Sheboygan in June, is off to an impressive start, and it should receive another boost when the PGA Championship comes to nearby Kohler next week.
The golf tournament will help establish the area as a golf destination and encourage visitors to return in the future, said Blue Harbor general manager Josef Haas.
However, the resort’s rooms have been full, even without a major golf championship in town. The resort’s occupancy rates have been in the high 90s on the weekends and the low 80s during the week.
"We certainly have been the buzz of the city," Haas said.
The 300,000 square-foot, $54 million resort was built on a 16.75-acre site on a peninsula between the Sheboygan River and Lake Michigan in downtown Sheboygan. The resort has 183 guest suites and 64 condominiums. The resort’s amenities include 1,400 feet of Lake Michigan beachfront property, a 40,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, a 29,000-square-foot conference center, a 3,000 square-foot spa and four full-service restaurants and bars.
The property was once owned by the C. Reiss Coal Co., which stored large piles of coal on the peninsula years ago.
To clean up the blighted and abandoned property, the city provided $12.2 million in public funds to support the resort project as the anchor of the redevelopment of the peninsula.
Prior to Blue Harbor, the Sheboygan area had no full-service hotels, other than the American Club in Kohler.
"If you had a wedding here with 300 guests, no (hotel) could facilitate it but the American Club," Haas said.
The conference center at Blue Harbor has a 12,0001square-foot main room than can handle events with up to 700 attendees, Haas said. The rest of the conference center consists of smaller, breakout meeting rooms.
Haas said Blue Harbor is not a direct competitor with the Kohler Co.-owned American Club, the only AAA five-diamond resort in the Midwest.
"The American Club is a totally different product line," he said. "Their rates are 20 to 30 percent higher than ours. It’s the best resort in the state, and maybe the Midwest. You have to give credit where credit is due."
The American Club is more adult-oriented, while Blue Harbor, with its indoor waterpark, appeals more to children and families, Haas said.
"(Blue Harbor is) totally geared for families," Haas said. "We are geared from Memorial Day to Labor Day for the family getaway."
After Labor Day, until next Memorial Day, the resort’s focus will shift more toward business conferences, especially during the weekdays. The resort offers amenities that will encourage business people to bring their families with them to their meetings, Haas said.
"You can come for a meeting here, and your spouse and children can play in the waterpark during the day," he said. "Then you can meet up later for dinner and go for a walk on the lake."
August 6, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display