OSHKOSH - Construction is rolling along at the City Center Hotel in downtown Oshkosh, but now the partners on this version of the redevelopment project are asking citizens to consider taking a chance and pitching in to help pay for it. The partners say the first two fundraising phases are complete, but not the third phase.
By April 2013 the rooms in Oshkosh's City Center Hotel should be ready for guests.
"We're excited now because we're actually starting construction. It was kind of deconstruction up til now," said Rich Batley, one of three original partners who invested in the $14 million renovation project.
There is another private partner and the University of Oshkosh Foundation. The city has also kicked in $3 million.
"This is a real community project and I think we've had that from the start with the city, with the UWO Foundation involved," said Batley.
But UW Oshkosh Foundation president Art Rathjen told FOX 11 up to $5 million are still needed.
"Folks within the area that might look at joining this project as an investment opportunity," said Rathjen.
Rathjen told us the city sent out this email to about 200 people, both local residents and university alumni. It asks them to come to a meeting to learn about investing in the hotel project.
"You cannot just go ahead and send this out to John Q. Public. You have to have partners or friends of the university that know of our project," said Rathjen.
Rathjen and Batley told us the original three partners have bank financing secured and are prepared to cover the final few millions if they don't get enough private investors. But say it's worth considering.
"Like any offer like that there is a risk and we have to make sure that we spell that out clearly, but we're looking at a return of around 15%," explained Batley.
"If everything works out fine it should be a profitable venture for them individually," said Rathjen.
If everything works out, meaning if the new hotel brings as many people and as much money to the city as it's expected to.
The informational meeting about investing will be Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Oshkosh Convention Center.
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