Thursday, December 17, 2009

Unfinished boutique hotel and monument to irrational exuberance at Regent and Monroe

Unfinished Monument to Irrational Exuberance at Monroe and Regent
I always wondered if the business plan for this planned boutique hotel was written on the back of a napkin by irrationally exuberant alumni in a Camp Randall skybox who wanted to party on after a Badger football game but faced the unwelcome prospect of bucking postgame traffic. The business plan must pretty much have been a restatement of what was on their minds at the moment: Wouldn't it be great if we had a place we could go right across the street? Never mind that it's on the corner of one of the busiest intersections in Madison. That traffic access and parking are huge problems. That a hotel at this location would be sold out for seven home football weekends a year and have no real purpose any other time. Don't let negative thinking get in the way. Push on.

Unfinished Monument to Irrational Exuberance at Monroe and RegentActually, the reality was more mundane. It was just a developer who had some land he wanted to develop. Originally he wanted to put up condos, but the neighborhood shot that down. He switched to a hotel proposal, but it was deemed too big. He downsized it -- thus the boutique hotel. He came up with the idea on his own, without the help of alumni in skyboxes, as far as we know. He wore down the opposition, got permission to demolish the old building that housed the Copper Grid, and began construction in November, 2008. He hoped to complete it in time for the fall football season, but missed that deadline. Still, the building was nearing completion when construction halted in mid-October. Recently Kraemer Brothers, the contractor, filed a $3.7 million claim against Sieger LLC, the Madison-based developer, and there's no indication when the matter will be resolved. Meanwhile, the UW Fieldhouse and Camp Randall Stadium are reflected in the windows of the unfinished building, and snowdrifts pile up in the unused entryway.


froggyprager said...

good post and I share much of your thoughts on this project. I wonder how this will be resolved. I don't understand these legal/ financial issues well but it seems strange to me that the construction company would keep working on the building while their unpaid bills kept growing. $3.7 Million?! Why did not they not stop building sooner? Also, I thought the city needed to see secured financing before they approved this project.

The only think thing I disagree with is I think that a hotel here (while not a good location) will do ok because there are very few hotels near campus and the hospital and those that there are usually pretty full from what I here. I predict that it will not just get used during football games, but hockey and basketball games and also for other UW related visitors and could do ok despite the economic conditions. I think it would have been fine to have a higher building at that site and I think the hard part for this type of a hotel is having enough reveune to support all the services and costs that a larger hotel has.

scott said...

IMO, this developer dug his own hole in developing an adversarial relationship with the neighborhood. He probably could have built bigger or done condos if he played his cards right. Probably the bank is happy this is a hotel and not condos given the current market anyway.

I just hope someone figures this out and make a success of it... i live just around the corner...

What went wrong?
What are the potential outcomes now??

Anonymous said...

you are going to see more and more of this across the united states of america due to the imploding economy and draining away of $$$ by wall street and the amerikan war machine complex.

there simply is not enough money left to complete construction on many many projects in the usa.

bloggers / analysts are calling these buildings / projects "Zombies" - cannot be killed but cannot be brought back to life.

have you seen the miles and miles and miles of empty strip malls in california, nevada, arizone, florida, etc etc etc ???

Anonymous said...

tear it down. this eyesore isn't finished but it reeks of 80's tackiness. what a horrible color scheme, for starters. I know Madison folks think red is the epitome of class and taste (based on the snazzy sweat shirts they wear out to nice restaurants on a Saturday night) but it looks cheap.

ps - isn't the developer the same dirt-bag who built the barely finished condo/duplex right around the corner on Oakland Ave? another eyesore.