WEDC investment to help fund renovation of historic downtown hotel

FOND DU LAC, WI. JUNE 7, 2018 – The City of Fond du Lac is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help fund the renovation of the historic Hotel Retlaw.

The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the redevelopment of the property into a full-service hotel providing affordable luxury with modern amenities, a restaurant and a meeting space.

The project is expected to create about 147 jobs, including positions as managers, housekeepers, maintenance workers and food and beverage servers, as well as positions in sales and marketing.

Renovations are now underway and are expected to be completed later this year.

“One of the top priorities of WEDC is to support communities as they invest in revitalizing their downtowns, and this project is a prime example of how we are accomplishing that in every region of the state,” said Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development corporation. “I commend the City of Fond du Lac and Legendary Hotels for taking the steps needed to rehabilitate Hotel Retlaw while at the same time maintaining its historic character and creating family-supporting jobs.”

“The City of Fond du Lac is excited to be a partner with Legendary Hotels in bringing the vision that they have created for this hotel into reality,” said Dyann Benson, community development director for the City of Fond du Lac. “The Hotel Retlaw not only is an important historic property within the downtown and community, but provides the opportunity to fill an important void in our hospitality market. The city is committed to becoming a great place to live, work and visit. The redevelopment of the Hotel Retlaw is a major cornerstone to the many public and private investments that have been made in the downtown over the last five years.”

“Bringing the Hotel Retlaw back to life will play a prominent role in the revitalization of downtown Fond du Lac,” added Dennis Doucette, a principal-partner at Legendary Hotels. “It is also a testament to a successful collaboration between public and private investment, including the overwhelming support from the WEDC, in addition to support from the community at large.”

Hotel Retlaw opened in 1923 and was the second hotel constructed by Walter Schroeder. His Schroeder Hotel Company was one of the largest hotel chains in Wisconsin in the 1920s. Legendary Hotels LLC acquired the property in the summer of 2016 with plans to preserve the historic character and restore the hotel as an integral part of Fond du Lac’s commercial and social fabric.

WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need and use of sustainable downtown development practices.

Since the program’s inception in 2013, WEDC has awarded more than $17 million in Community Development Investment Grants for projects expected to generate more than $233 million in capital investments statewide.