The American Post 595 hall in La Crescent pictured last year. The hall is expected to be torn down this year to allow the construction of a hotel and event center.

Eric Timmons

The developer working on the project to open a hotel in La Crescent is close to securing a Best Western Plus franchise for the site.

Mike Lindner, of Oshkosh-based Hotel R&D, said he has received a preliminary “thumbs up” from Best Western for the project but is still awaiting a final approval.

He said the hotel would represent a $6.5 million investment and have 55-60 rooms and an indoor swimming pool. Lindner said the hotel would cater to the “upper mid-scale” market.

“We’re very excited about it,” he said.

Lindner said financing for the project has been secured through local investors and banks. The city also is offering $350,000 for the project through the Tax Increment Financing District created for the development.

Best Western has been absent from the La Crosse area market since 2016, when new owners of the former Best Western Riverfront Hotel at 1835 Rose St., La Crosse, changed it to an AmericInn Hotel. Lindner said Best Western had been present in the market for 40 years until then and said he thinks the brand should have considerable pull.

The hotel will be located on the site of the existing American Legion Post 595 hall in La Crescent and Lindner expects to break ground on the project in April or May and for the hotel to open in the spring of 2019. Also located on the site will be the proposed La Crescent Event Center, which is being designed to complement the hotel.

“It’s a perfect marriage,” said Lindner.

He said the hotel should be a destination for meetings, conventions and social functions who will use the Event Center.

The Event Center project is being run by a nonprofit made up of local community members with a board that’s chaired by Jay Friedl. He said earlier this week that about $2 million of the $4 million needed for the project has now been raised.

Friedl said the goal is to have the $3 million raised by May, when it’s planned to break ground on the development.

The plan for the 15,000 square feet Event Center calls for a multi-use facility that would include about 3,000 feet for the American Legion and answer what supporters see as a need for a home for local and regional events in La Crescent.

A public informational meeting on the Event Center is planned Jan. 23, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the La Crescent Fire Department Building, 336 S. First St. More information on the project can be found online at lacrescentareaeventcenter.org.


Coulee Courier and Houston County News editor

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