The city of West Bend has sold a portion of the former Gehl Co. manufacturing site downtown to a group that is planning to develop a 68-room hotel and 16,000-square-foot office building there. The buyer of the 3.3 acres, located at the southwest corner of Water Street and South Forest Avenue, is Downtown West Bend Hotel Associates LLC, led by Paul Stangl of RafRad LLC. The city sold the land for $1. DWBHA is partnering with Iowa-based Kinseth Hospitality Cos. and West Bend-based American Cos. on the project. RafRad lists a Germantown address, while DWBHA is registered to Kraig Sadownikow, former mayor of West Bend and president and owner of American Construction Services and American Architectural Group, two of the companies that are part of American Cos. The same group previously developed the Hampton Inn & Suites West Bend, located near the southeast corner of South 18th Avenue and West Paradise Drive. The development will consist of the 68-room TownePlace Suites Marriott extended-stay hotel, plus the multi-tenant office building, of which 7,000 square feet is available for lease. City officials approved an agreement with the developers related to the project last year. Adam Williquette, president of American Commercial Real Estate — the third company in American Cos. — said a tenant could soon be named on the other 9,000 square feet of office space. In an interview, Sadownikow said the project will break ground within the next few weeks. The office is expected to be open in the fourth quarter of this year, while the hotel should be ready for occupancy by the second quarter of 2020, he said. West Bend acquired the site from Gehl, now known as Manitou Americas, in 2008 after the company relocated its headquarters two blocks east. The city oversaw then remediation work and demolition of the multiple buildings at the site. "This is an extraordinary location for a hotel," Jay Shambeau, West Bend city administrator, said in a news release. "Visitors will have the unique opportunity to explore and enjoy downtown West Bend. They can frequent our thriving restaurants and shops, the Riverwalk, Eisenbahn State Trail, farmer’s market, Museum of Wisconsin Art, and newly renovated Historic West Bend Theatre, all within walking distance." Developers had looked at the site for other potential projects in the past, though none of those moved forward. In 2017, the city selected Blair Williams of WiRed Properties and Sean Phelan of Phelan Development to build 96 market-rate apartments in three buildings, with 24,000 square feet of commercial space in two of those buildings. Then in 2018, Van Horn Real Estate proposed a mixed-use development of its own at the site. West Bend put $18,000 toward a hotel market demand study by Patek Hospitality Consultants Inc., which showed a demand for more hotel accommodations in the area. The study was key in securing interest from Marriott and the development team, according to the release. [caption id="attachment_497024" align="alignnone" width="1280"] Planned 16,000-square-foot office building in downtown West Bend. Rendering: American Cos.[/caption] The new hotel and office building would be the latest project occurring in the city's downtown. "Downtown West Bend is really bucking the trend nationally; we really have a strong downtown anchored by the Museum of Wisconsin Art (and) some modern restaurants," he said, also pointing out the rehabilitation of the historic West Bend Theatre at 125 N. Main St. "We’re all proud to be part of the next generation of that site," Sadownikow said. "It’s pretty historic and a pretty meaningful site in West Bend.
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