Downtown Oshkosh hotel gets new owners, new life

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
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Oshkosh’s City Center Hotel is under new ownership, and the local partnership holding the keys is reenergizing revitalization plans.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Foundation and local hoteliers Richard Batley of RB Hospitality in Neenah and John Pfefferle of Pfefferle Companies, Inc. in Appleton announced their new ownership of the hotel, which was finalized today.

The partners have officially closed on the sale of the property, purchasing it from Nashco Hospitality Group LLC, which owned it since 2009. They plan to transform the 179-room waterfront property into a full-service, state-of-the-art business hotel, anchoring the city’s downtown and serving as an economic catalyst for the entire community.

The new owners of the hotel also own the CopperLeaf in downtown Appleton and the Bridgewood in Neenah.

“This local partnership’s vision, diligence and perseverance will result in great benefit to all of Wisconsin’s Event City,” says Oshkosh Area Community Foundation President and CEO Eileen Connolly-Keesler, who, in 2010, helped rally a local partnership around the hotel revitalization concept. “I’m pleased that the revitalized hotel will serve as one more successful example of how high-impact collaborations are improving our city’s economy and quality of life.”

The partners remain dedicated to the hotel vision originally proposed last fall: A renovated, state-of-the-art, full-service downtown business hotel with a new restaurant, reopened in early 2013. The hotel will complement the revitalized, attached Oshkosh Convention Center and enhance nearby UW Oshkosh’s vibrant academic conference business. It will also bring new downtown jobs and economic energy to Oshkosh retail storefronts, cafes, performance venues and other businesses aligned with the city’s ongoing redevelopment efforts.

Based on the level of shared investment in hotel renovations, it is estimated the project can directly create more than 200 new construction jobs. The reinvigoration of hotel business has the potential to create dozens of new hospitality jobs on site.

The new hotel owners said they also remain dedicated to using the revitalized hotel as an additional source of public good. They propose spinning off some revenue annually as UW Oshkosh Foundation scholarships for Oshkosh high school graduates. Another proposal suggests the potential, future establishment of a collaborative, off-campus academic hospitality program inside the hotel.