OSHKOSH - In the sale of Oshkosh's City Center Hotel, the cost of renovation was the deal breaker.
As for the heart breaker, it comes in the form of missed opportunity for the city's college campus, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
"It was a real dynamic proposal," said Alex Hummel, a spokesperson for UW-Oshkosh. "We felt as a beneficiary of it from the university aspect that it provided a lot of promise."
The UW-Oshkosh Foundation and WHG LLC offered to purchase the riverfront property, envisioning an $8.5 million price tag for renovations. During the sale's 90-day due diligence period, the partners found out those costs would have been higher, and withdrew their offer.
"There weren't glaring problems or anything like that. It just was over time costs increase and couldn't make it work out," said Hummel.
The plan was for the hotel to transform into the Athearn Waterfront Hotel, a modernized, full-service convention and business hotel just two blocks from the UW-Oshkosh campus. It was supposed to compliment the university's planned Alumni Welcome and Conference Center.
"It's not going to halt the progress here at UW-Oshkosh," said Hummel. "It just sort of was a neat opportunity."
"All the pieces were coming together," said John Casper, the President and CEO of the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce. "Unfortunately these deals are never done until they are done."
Casper says the hotel needs work, something he doesn't believe will come from its current owners.
"It's really important for us to reestablish that business," said Casper. "It has a residual effect for our downtown."
The effect for UWO was planned to be using hotel revenue to fund scholarships and a new academic program. Instead, the university simply plans to move on.
"If something emerges or develops down the road, I guess we'll cross that road as we get there, but right now I think we are just sort of disappointed," said Hummel.
Details of the agreement are not available because it was still in the offer phase. People involved with the deal would not tell FOX 11 what kind of renovations the hotel needs or why the costs were higher than expected.
The hotel's owners, Nascho Hospitality Group, LLC, could not be reached for comment.
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