Retlaw Hotel project delayed temporarily

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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Nearly a year after Action 2 New first reported about plans to renovate the Retlaw Hotel in Fond du Lac, the project remains idle.

Hotel Retlaw before renovation
Hotel Retlaw in April, 2017, before renovation (WBAY photo)

Pictures of the Crystal Ballroom in the Retlaw Hotel today look similar to pictures taken in April of last year. That when renovations on the $25 million project to revitalize the Retlaw was scheduled to begin.

"The best laid plans have gone awry," says Dennis Doucette with Legendary Hotels LLC. That's the management company that owns the hotel and is responsible for the project.

Doucette says while he's received great cooperation from city and state officials, when it comes to grants and loans to finance the project, the complexity of what was needed has delayed the start.

According to Doucettte, "We've got historic tax credits for the state and for the federal. We have the respective buyers for the state and federal tax credits. We have a CDI grant that the city is sponsoring with us. We have TIF which will also be a piece of that."

The renovation plans call for upgrades to the 120-plus rooms. A signature restaurant in the hotel will feature jazz every night. The property will also include a spa, a hair salon, and a coffee shop.

Rodac Construction out of Green Bay, which is now part of the ownership team will complete the work. It's a partnership owners says will ensure the work, once started, will stay on schedule.

"They've got a lot of passion for the project, just as we do. And it's great to go into something when your partners also on the ground floor putting it together with you," adds Doucette.

And despite the delays, officials with Envision Greater Fond du Lac are confident the project will meet expectations.

CEO Cecilia Harry says, "We understand that the timeline will speed up and slow down, at times, we're just excited that it continues to be on track and we're hopeful to have a positive outcome here in the near future."

The property owners hope to have the financing closed by late January, early February. The plan is to have the Retlaw reopened by late summer or early fall.

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