Heidel House-1

The Heidel House, when it was operating as a resort.

In less than a week, the Heidel House property at 643 Illinois Ave. in Green Lake will have a new owner.

The sale of the historic resort is set to close Wednesday, Sept. 30, ushering in a new era in the property’s history.

Under the deal between the property’s Madison-based owner Fiore Companies, Green Lake Hotel Development Group LLC and Lighthouse Development Group, Green Lake Hotel Group will essentially own the property while two subsidiaries of Lighthouse will develop and run the property.

According to Lighthouse President Don Klain, Lighthouse Hospitality Group will manage the hotel while Lighthouse Development Group will be in charge of redeveloping the property.

The revamped hotel is on track to open in May, boasting 115 rooms, 15,000 square feet of space for conferences, meetings, weddings and banquets, along with expanded car parking and boat docking.

Klain noted the developers have a clear vision for the core hotel, bar, restaurant and event part of the business, but plans for other structures on the property are still very much in a state of flux.

The two main restaurants on the property will be the Boathouse Pub and the Sunroom Cafe, as well as an additional bar in the lobby, which Klain described as “the focal point of the lobby.”

Klain noted the Grey Rock Building will be offered for sale, but nothing is set in stone in terms of converting the Grey Rock to residential housing if it is not purchased.

Lighthouse’s interest in the property originated years ago, but it was after the Heidel House closed that it began seriously pursuing developing the property.

“We just saw the uniqueness of the property and the potential after seeing it on the market for several years,” he said.

When Spirit of Green Lake LLC moved to purchase the property last year, Lighthouse thought it had lost out on an opportunity.

However, the Spirit of Green Lake deal fell through, and shortly after Fiore Companies reached out to Lighthouse.

“They texted us at the end of last year to find out if we were interested, and we weren’t sure what we wanted to do,” Klain said.

So, Lighthouse reached out to the city of Green Lake to see if it would be willing to help support the project financially.

At first, Lighthouse met with Mayor Ray Radis, who quickly introduced the developers to Mike White, a primary investor behind Green Lake Hotel Group.

Eventually, the developers and the city worked out a deal that would establish a tax increment district (TID) around the Heidel House, in which the city will reimburse the developer at a rate of 60% of eligible project costs up to $3 million.

Under the developer’s agreement, Green Lake Hotel Group agreed to pay the city back in full by 2048.

Klain explained that developing a TID is necessary for having a redeveloped Heidel House because the project wouldn’t happen without it.

“Anytime that there’s public funds used for anything, there’s always going to be a sticking point as a taxpayer. I don’t disagree with that,” Klain said. “Without the city’s partnership, we would not be able to do this. We’re putting a lot of money into this project, and it would not happen without the city’s participation.”

The developers are required to spend at least $5 million on renovations, for the city to provide it’s entire financial contribution. Klain noted the total project cost for revamping the Heidel House is roughly $15 million.

That $15 million will be spent on an “extensive remodel” that Klain said will make the resort a bit more of a “open concept,” as well as installing new furniture, carpeting, wallpaper, drapes and more.

Klain is looking forward to getting the revamped Heidel House off the ground, noting Lighthouse is estimating selling roughly 25,000 room nights per year, which equates to roughly 50,000 people coming to Green Lake each year.

“That 50,000 people is going to help the local businesses, the gas stations, the liquor stores, the golf courses,” Klain said. “If we don’t hit our revenue numbers, which I think we will because we make them pretty conservative, we’re still bringing in additional room tax dollars.”

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