The Fortney Hotel, which was built on Viroqua’s Main Street in 1889, has new owners. Ridgeland Restorations LLC acquired the building Jan. 2.
Ridgeland Restorations LLC is a partnership made up of Larry, Sue, Brian and Amy Wrobel, all of Stoddard.
Brian Wrobel said he and his wife, Amy, and his parents, Larry and Sue, toured the Queen Anne-style building more than two years ago and began brainstorming future possibilities for the building. He said they are still working on the plans, which could include commercial space and possibly some offices.
Wrobel said they also are looking into the possibility of hotel space.
Wrobel said residents currently living in the building were notified on Jan. 2 that they will have to vacate the building by April 1.
“We’ve reached out to the city and county and are waiting to hear about resources (for residents),” he said. Wrobel added they wanted to give plenty of lead time to help residents with the relocation.
Wrobel said he and his family plan to work with the city of Viroqua and Viroqua Chamber Main Street to ensure the building continues to serve the vision and needs of Main Street Viroqua, while still retaining many of the building’s original characteristics.
“We love Viroqua; it’s one of our favorite towns,” he said. “We’re excited to be part of town. We hope to put it (Hotel Fortney) on the map; it was one-of-a-kind when it was built. We hope to bring that back.”
Why the barrier?
In October, the city of Viroqua ordered a full inspection to be completed in order to assess the building’s overall health. The report was received over Thanksgiving and identified some problems that were deemed a public safety hazard.
City Administrator Nate Torres said there were problems with the oriel windows (a type of bay window) — one on the east side of the building and the larger one on the southeast corner.
“It was enough to warn us to close the sidewalk and block parking spots (in case bricks would fall),” Torres said.
Torres said the building’s previous owners were given a timeline for repairs; that timeline was also given to the Wrobels when the building sold. “Brian Wrobel wants to be a good property owner. We have a meeting scheduled this week to discuss expectations and timelines for corrective action.”
“We should see some exciting things soon” Torres said.
Angela Cina can be reached at email@example.com.