City of Milwaukee officials today announced that they have reached a tentative agreement with L&R Group of Companies, the Los Angeles based owner of WallyPark, for the development of the former Wyndham Hotel site at 4747 S. Howell Ave.
The 508-room hotel near Mitchell International Airport closed late last year. Earlier in the year the hotel went into foreclosure and was sold at a sheriff's auction to U.S. Bank, acting as a trustee for the hotel's lender, Wachovia Bank, a division of Wells Fargo Bank.
The hotel was then sold to WallyPark, a premier airport parking provider offering "white glove" service to its customers. It operates at nine different airports around the country and is in the midst of an expansion throughout the U.S. and Canada which includes Milwaukee.
However city officials were disappointed in the company's plans to convert the Wyndham Hotel property, located in a major airport commercial area at the southwest of Howell Avenue and Layton Avenue, into a parking lot.
But now after several months of negotiations, city officials say they have reached an agreement for a redevelopment plan for the site with L&R. The framework for the deal includes phased-in plans for businesses along the streetfront of both Howell and Layton Avenues, a site for a possible future hotel, and land area for WallyPark to operate.
The Milwaukee WallyPark will feature features secure covered parking and valet service. Ald. Terry Witkowski said the revised plan will improve Milwaukee's appearance to travelers around Mitchell Airport and it will better conform to the vision of the Garden District.
"We have sorted out the issues and resolved our difference so that L&R can establish the Milwaukee WallyPark, and the Garden District will maintain its standing as one of the city's best places to conduct business," Witkowski said. "Most importantly, we will have new investment that creates jobs, adds property value, and reinforces the city's plans for this neighborhood."
"WallyPark is an innovative company, and its plans for Milwaukee confirm that it sees our city as a good place to invest and grow," Department of City Development Commissioner Richard "Rocky" Marcoux said.
"We are excited at the prospect of being a part of the business community in the City of Milwaukee and being neighbors in the Garden District," said Stuart Rubin, chief executive officer of L & R. "While WallyPark will be a 24/7 operation with 50 new family wage jobs for people in the area, we are just as excited about creating the restaurant pads and helping to develop a new hotel concept on the property that will also create new jobs in the district and the city."
The development agreement still needs to be approved by the Common Council.