LANCASTER, Wis. — Developers of a new 52-room hotel in Lancaster hope to break ground in the coming weeks, pending approval of site plans by the city’s Plan Commission.
The designs for a Sleep Inn & Suites have been met with enthusiasm from commission members, who intend to review them one more time before making a decision. A meeting date has not been set.
“The goal is to be open in mid-to-late spring (2021),” said Bruce Fritz, one of the project’s developers.
The hotel will be located on a 1½-acre site at 1550 S. Madison St. along U.S. 61. It will feature an indoor pool, meeting space, event and fitness centers and an outdoor patio. About 10 private investors are financing the more than $5 million project.
As part of a development agreement approved in January, the city will sell the land to the developers for $1 and provide up to $943,250 using funds generated by property taxes from the new hotel.
The revenue will finance infrastructure improvements on the hotel property and an abutting 1-acre parcel to the northwest that also is owned by the city.
“We would like to see some sort of a retail business in that location, but if they would like to double the size of the hotel, we would be happy to sell it to them,” said City Administrator David Carlson.
A new road will be constructed directly south of the property, which will connect to a 76-stall hotel parking lot. A second access driveway to the northwest will link to the highway.
Additionally, a sanitary sewer line will be installed north of the property, connecting to the city’s sewer system at East Alona Lane.
Residents Jeffrey and Kristine Reuter, who live two properties southeast of the hotel at 9030 U.S. 61, expressed concern that guests using the hotel patio will generate noise and that lighting from the property’s south side will shine in the direction of their home.
Contractor Brad Bierman, of Epic Construction, said the hotel does not have the capacity to host large gatherings and the design calls for downward-facing lighting in the parking lot.
“We’re a long ways up, even from the house directly south of us,” he said, referring to an adjacent property at 9042 U.S. 61.
He estimated the structures will stand about 150 feet apart.
The city and developers agreed that stormwater from the property will drain into a retention pond located on the municipal golf course, serving as an amenity to players.
The developers intend to add sidewalks, either along the highway or on the hotel’s backside through the golf course. Bierman said the hotel does not intend to install them until the city-owned property to the hotel’s northwest is developed.
The hotel developers also intend to work with neighbor Robert Smith, whose residence at 9096 U.S. 61 is located within the Town of South Lancaster — an island sandwiched between properties located within the city limits.
Smith said he is willing to consider granting the city an easement to install sidewalks on his property.
Commission Member Paul Thuli added, “Since we’ve got such good people to work with … I don’t see where there is going to be a problem.”