New hotel coming to Main Street

The Dunn County News (Menomonie, WI)- For more than 130 years, the Heller Building — referred to in more recent decades as the Lee Building — has stood on the northwest corner of Main and Second Streets in downtown Menomonie. But come next summer, it will be but a memory of a bygone era, and a new hotel will stand in its place.

Because the property lies within a historical district, special permission needed to be granted for the proposed project. On Monday, the Menomonie Historic Preservation Commission approved, on a 4-2 vote, two certificates of appropriateness — for 149 Main St. E and 125 Main St. E — that will allow construction of a four-story, 51-room Cobblestone Inn to go forward.

Owned by Keith St. LLC of Eau Claire, the building at 149 Main St. that currently houses Black Thumb Glass and Jeff’s Pizza Shop will be razed, while Jill’s My Style building next door at 125 Main St. will either be moved or demolished.

About the project

Bill Albright, vice president of Heartland Contractors Inc., told the commission that the original intent when he and Paul Madsen purchased the property a year ago was to remodel the second floor for student housing. After having architects and structural engineers inspect the building, Albright said, “It just came to fruition that it wasn’t a viable option. ... We ended up moving in a different direction.”

Working with Albright, Dan Fedderly said that the old Lee building was among several downtown properties he himself considered several years ago for possible historic restoration before settling on The Raw Deal a couple of blocks away on Broadway. He confirmed Albright’s assessment that the basic elements needed no longer exist.

“There’s a large difference between restoration and replication,” Fedderly said. “When I looked at the Lee Building, there wasn’t anything to restore.”

In an attempt to incorporate elements of existing downtown architecture, Albright said the exterior of the new hotel will feature three floors of replicated slate, storefront-type windows, overhangs, canopies, cast stone coins on the corners and Main Street access for guests. The building itself will be 47 feet high, about as high as the eaves of the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts across the street to the east.

The main entrance will face north at the rear of the building. There will be parking on the east side, and plans are in the works to lease additional parking from Bremer Bank.

“This is going to be a very substantial, great-looking building that, in 50 to 100 years, this same commission is going to fight to keep. It’s going to be a fixture in downtown Menomonie,” Albright said, predicting that the Cobblestone Inn will serve as a catalyst to boost the local economy.

Brian Wogernese is the president of Cobblestone Hotels, based out of Neenah. The company currently has 67 hotels throughout the country with 13 more under construction — one of them in his hometown of Chippewa Falls. Having attended UW-Stout, he is familiar with Menomonie.

Citing an industry study, he said that, including the cost of the hotel stay, the average guest spends between $180 to $185 on restaurants, shopping and gas per visit.

Recognizing the commission’s charge to preserve the historic look of downtown, Wogernese said, “The one thing you want to take into consideration here ... is the economic impact to the downtown and your other buildings — and that’s what this hotel is going to do.”

Irvine Park Welcome Center ribbon cutting draws hundreds

Chippewa Falls (Chippewa Herald)

Chippewa Falls resident Rick Flynn has been following Irvine Park & Zoo’s new Welcome Center since the project’s early stages, but even he was amazed to see the quality of the nearly-finished product.

From big to small donations, time volunteered and energy put into building, it really was the whole city who made it happen. And the city who showed up.

A couple hundred people filled the new parking lot in front of Irvine Zoo’s Welcome Center Tuesday night for the ribbon cutting ceremony, arriving as early as an hour ahead of time.

The Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Parks Board held the ceremony to honor all of the hard work the community has put into the building. Mayor Greg Hoffman, Chamber chair Jenny Lemminger, Parks Director Dick Hebert, Parks Board President Beth Arneberg and capital campaign co-chairs Gerald Jacobson, Peg Leinenkugel, Patti Darley and Bob Hogseth all spoke to give their thanks to the community and excitement for the future of the park.

Plans for Menomonie hotel clear hurdle- Commission gives OK for downtown project

Menomonie (Leader Telegram) — The downtown will have a new hotel built by spring 2017, according to the developer.

The Menomonie Historic Preservation Commission Monday on a 4-2 vote approved two certificates of appropriateness for 149 Main St. E. and 125 Main St. E. to allow for a 52-room hotel to be built.

Keith St. LLC, 3445 London Road, Eau Claire, has permission to raze the building at 149 Main St. E., which houses Black Thumb Glass, and Jeff’s Pizza Shop, 145 Main St E., and to relocate or demolish 125 Main St. E., which is the Jill’s My Style building.

The project calls for building a four-story hotel on the site to be named the Cobblestone Inn.

Bid for new downtown Chippewa Falls park accepted

Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - Plans for a new entrance to downtown Chippewa Falls are moving forward.

News 18 spoke with the Director of Public Works Rick Rubenzer Tuesday. He said the board unanimously approved a bid for the downtown Riverfront Gateway Park.

Heartland Contractors of Wisconsin Inc. came in under the original estimate, their bid was for a little more than $2 million. 

Next week the Chippewa Falls City Council will have the final say on green-lighting the project. If they approve it, Rubenzer said construction could start within the next few weeks.


Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - The entrance to downtown Chippewa Falls could soon be a little more inviting. 

Monday night the Board of Public Works will choose a bid to reconstruct this area and turn it into a park, the park will be called the Downtown Riverfront Gateway Park.

News 18 spoke with city planner, Jayson Smith, Monday, he said the downtown entrance to Chippewa Falls has been used a backdoor for more than 100 years and it's time for a change.

The plans call for improving access to the river and the park will feature a plaza area with fountains and pedestrian paths will weave through the park. There will also be many seating options, including one near a popular fishing area.

The project is estimated to cost $2.5 million. Construction would start this spring and would wrap up near the end of summer.

Once the Board of Public Works has approved a bid, the Common Council will give final approval, that could come as soon as their March 15 meeting.

Heartland Contractors hires Dean Bauer as a new Job Superintendent


Dean recently joined the Heartland team, however is not new to construction. He comes to Heartland Contractors with over 20 years of experience in the construction industry. 

Dean has managed projects in all facets of construction on academic, athletic, historical, retail, and military facilities. He also has previous experience in residential and post frame construction.

Dean graduated from UW-River Falls in 1994 with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering Technology with an emphasis in construction. His specialties include concrete, masonry and exterior building enclosure. He believes strong attention to detail and quality control are keys to a successful project and a positive end result for our clients.

He enjoys spending time with family and outdoor activities such as camping and coaching his kid’s sports teams.

Business at the Airport Event (Eau Claire)


Thursday, August 6

5:00 - 6:30 PM


3800 Starr Avenue, Eau Claire, WI

Please join the Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire and Menomonie chambers of commerce for the annual Business at the Airport on Thursday, August 6. Find out what is happening at your airport, network with other business members, visit more than 30 exhibitor tables, have a chance to win great door prizes and enjoy great food from KB Catering 2-U, LLC.