Menomonie has five hotels currently within the city limits, and during Stout events such as Fashion Without Fabric, they fill up very quickly. Future travelers will soon have another option to stay right in town at a new hotel that is being built where the Lee Building now stands.
The Lee Building—formerly the Heller Building—sits right next to the Mabel Tainter and currently houses Black Thumb Glass, Jeff’s Pizza Shop and Jill’s My Style.
The building lies within the historic district, and the process to turn the building into a hotel has been quite challenging. In order for the hotel to be built, the plans had to be approved by The Menomonie Historic Preservation Commission.
The committee consists of six members: Monte Burstad, Peggy Terry, Tom Twohig, Josh Risler, Tim Dotseth and Melissa Kneeland. The vote came down to 4-2, with Tim Doseth and Melissa Kneeland being opposed. Since the majority was in favor, the plans were allowed to go through.
Many business owners around town are excited about the project because they feel that it will help draw business to them.
The original plan for the building was to remodel and turn it into second floor student housing. However, the building is very run-down, so that plan was overturned by Bill Albright, the vice president of Heartland Contractors Inc., and Paul Madsen, who bought the building over a year ago.
The new plan is to make the building match the architecture of the surrounding buildings.
The height will be 47 feet to match the Mabel Tainter.
The hotel will be under Cobblestone Hotels, which is run by Brian Wogernese. Mr. Wogernese attended UW–Stout, so he is familiar with the town and is excited to bring this new hotel to life.
According to an article published in the Leader Telegram in June, construction was supposedly set to begin within two months, though there hasn’t been any signs of structure quite yet.
The existing businesses in the Lee building have plans to move to new locations in town, so they will not be going out of business.