Cobblestone Hotels seeking to build in Austin; Offering $250,000 for property

Published 6:42 am Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Cobblestone Hotels has submitted a purchase agreement for a 1.6-acre parcel of land south of the old Hy-Vee building with the Austin Port Authority, according to City Administrator Craig Clark.

“(CEO) Brian Wogernese with Cobblestone Hotels put an offer in to purchase those 1.6 acres for $250,000,” Clark said. “He intends to bring a 66-room hotel to the site.”

Based in Neenah, Wisconsin, Cobblestone Hotels has 130 locations, four of which are in Minnesota. Wogernese told the Herald he is hoping to expand more into the state.

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“We originally looked in the downtown area, but that had some challenges,” he said about expanding into Austin. “We decided it was time to get in and get it done before somebody else signed up.”

In a letter to the Port Authority, Clark stated the location, which is a remnant parcel from the Oak Park Mall redevelopment as well as a remnant of the Slaby and Associates agreement, “meets Cobblestone’s general desired location along with I-90 visibility.”

State law requires a public hearing be held before the Port Authority can authorize the sale. The sale requires a two-thirds majority vote from the Port Authority for approval, followed by a 20-day objection period to allow anyone impacted by the sale to appeal to the district court. The deal would then close at the end of those 20 days.

The public hearing has been scheduled for 4 p.m. on Dec. 27 in the City Council chambers at City Hall.

Wogernese said that should the sale go through, the company projects to begin construction in April or May 2019.

“Once the city has signed off on it, (the beginning of construction is) going to be about 90-120 days from there,” he said.

“We’re excited about the redevelopment and possibly bringing a hotel option to the community and further building our tax base,” Clark said. “We’re excited to learn of their interest in buying it.”