Sean Ryan, Milwaukee Business Journal, September 5, 2014
Gorman & Co. Inc. is planning a $20.4 million conversion of Kenosha’s historic Heritage House Inn, which is currently vacant, into an 80-room boutique hotel.
Heritage House, built in 1916, closed in the mid-2000s and was damaged by a fire in 2011. Its restoration would include a new pub-style restaurant for 195 people, a 4,000-square-foot banquet hall and ballroom, and swimming pool, according to a report from First-Ring Industrial Redevelopment Enterprise Inc., or FIRE. The building is at 5706 Eighth Ave.
The hotel would have 75 full-time workers and its renovation would create 110 construction jobs.
Gorman & Co., in Oregon, Wis., is assembling a range of financing sources, including EB-5 foreign investment money, historic tax credits, a county loan and New Markets Tax Credits that FIRE would award.
Most of the budget, $10 million, would come from foreign investors through the federal EB-5 program. That program offers investors and their families green cards in exchange for lending money to job-creating U.S. projects. Gorman previously used EB-5 investors to renovate a building in the former Pabst Brewing Co. campus in Milwaukee into the Brew House Inn and Suites.
FIRE, a community development organization run by the city of West Allis, next week will consider awarding $10 million in New Markets Tax Credits to the development. Those credits, once sold to investors, will generate about $2.77 million in equity for the development, said Patrick Schloss, vice president of the organization and West Allis community development manager. FIRE awards the credits to projects in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties.
HeritageHouse would be the first Kenosha project to receive tax credits from FIRE.
“It meets FIRE’s goal because it is in a low-income census tract,” Schloss said. “It is a blighted property.”
The project budget also includes a $2 million loan from the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, and $3.84 million in historic tax credits.