WEDC provides $500,000 grant for Oxbow Hotel
Posted: November 13, 2015
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) this week announced that the City of Eau Claire will receive a $500,000 grant to assist the owners of the former Green Tree Inn, 516 Galloway St., Eau Claire, with its remodeling project to open the Oxbow Hotel this coming summer.
"This community development investment grant is awarded annually and this is one of 20 grants awarded this year," said WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark Hogan.
As part of the agreement, the City of Eau Claire will match 50 percent of the grant by providing the Oxbow Hotel ownership group with a $250,000 no-interest loan.
The owners of the Oxbow Hotel include Nick Meyer, owner of Volume One, Zach Halmstad, co-owner of JAMF Software, Ben Richgruber, executive director of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, and Justin Vernon, a two-time Grammy award-winner with the band Bon Iver.
"We had a financing gap and unless we found some creative ways to fill that gap, this would not have been possible," said Meyer, who added that the "boutique" hotel will have 30 rooms, a 70-seat restaurant and bar, a performance space and outdoor seating with a courtyard and patio.
In addition, a planned artist-in-residence program will be included in the lobby area of the hotel. Visiting artists will be able to live in Eau Claire for several months and work inside an open glass enclosure that hotel guests and others will be able to view.
Local chef Nathan Berg will oversee the hotel's restaurant. He said the menu will be filled with items that help evoke a sense of place.
"When we eat local foods, and especially when we eat foods that are native to the Upper Midwest, we help create an identity that's more closely tied to this region," said Berg.
The Oxbow Hotel will also offer "adventure rentals" of bicycles, kayaks, canoes, inner tubes and more to take advantage of the proximity to the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers and nearby bike trail.
Rhom Construction is the general contractor for the project. People's Bank Midwest is the commercial lending partner. SDS Architects of Eau Claire and Shelter Architecture of Minneapolis are the project architects. Empirical Hotel Investments, LLC of Minneapolis is a consultant for the renovation.
"It's no new news that the downtown is the center of an epic renaissance," said Eau Claire City Council President Kerry Kincaid. TBL