Ripon’s downtown hotel project is dead, and the city now is seeking new proposals for a series of city-owned properties.

   After years of negotiations between Lighthouse Hospitality and the city of Ripon, the two sides could not find common ground on a developer’s incentive.

   What finally killed the deal, though, remains unclear.

   “I think it was very clear in our negotiations that the city was very interested in having this project move forward, and every effort to complete the negotiations successfully,” City Attorney Lud Wurtz said at Monday’s Common Council meeting. “We would only be speculating as to why they would decide at this time not to pursue it further.”

   Three weeks ago, developers remained optimistic, with expectations that the developers would receive as much as an $1.8 million incentive to offset costs.

   At that time, “we’re at a kind of an impasse,” said Don Klain of Lighthouse Hospitality, which was aiming to build a 60-room hotel along the 200 and 300 blocks of Watson Street. “The lawyers are trying to work out some stuff with the developer’s agreement. That’s going to delay us until next year for sure.”

   Mayor Gary Will concurred, noting at that time that “the attorneys are still communicating back and forth.”

   Yet Wurtz explained Monday that negotiations actually were already done as of that point, when Lighthouse believed more negotiations were necessary for developing the properties on either side of Blossom Street along the west side of Watson Street, as well as some homes on the hill along Blossom.

Read the full story in the Nov. 30, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.