Fourth new hotel coming to downtown

Within the next few years, there will be four brand new hotels in downtown La Crosse.

The city council approved selling 1.2 acres of parking lot on Jay and Second streets on Thursday night.

La Crosse sold the lot to Weber Holdings for $750,000.

This is the fourth hotel proposed in downtown within the past few years and begs the question: Does La Crosse need all these hotel rooms?

La Crosse officials said, “Yes.”

“Demand has been very high for a number of years, and we continue to see demand grow,” said Dave Clements, executive director of the La Crosse Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Clements said La Crosse has been slipping in recent years when it comes to being a convention destination.

But that can change.

“We would add four new hotels, 400 new rooms and then add an expansion and upgrade at the La Crosse Center, and we’ve just stepped back up into the top tier of convention cities in the state,” Clements said.

Currently, there are four hotels in the downtown area. By the end of 2016, there could be nearly 400 more rooms and eight hotels within a mile from one another.

“We have a tremendous amount of events going on, there’s probably not a weekend where there’s not something exciting going on in this city,” said Robin Moses, executive director of Downtown Mainstreet Inc.

Moses said having hotels wanting to build in downtown La Crosse is proof that the need for more rooms is there, which is why both she and Clements aren’t worried hotels rooms will stay vacant.

“Some things are a little softer in different months, but on the overall long picture, demand has been good,” Clements said.

Clements said hotels are a business, and they’ve done their homework. They wouldn’t just build a hotel they don’t think will be profitable.

He said having so many hotels in the downtown will also allow for new business to come to La Crosse.

“The demand, like I said, has been good. You add that inventory, that gives your opportunities to go out and get other pieces of business that maybe we didn’t have enough rooms to accommodate in the past,” Clements said.

The new hotel just approved Thursday night will be a chain hotel, but the name has not been released.

It is expected to have 107 rooms and have a tax value of about $7 million.

Construction on this hotel is expected to begin next April and completed by the end of the year. Preliminary designs show the hotel having a possible skywalk to the La Crosse Center.