Council Moves Forward With Hotel Development

Two resolutions related to the construction of a west side waterfront hotel in Sturgeon Bay were approved by a majority of the city council during its regular meeting Tuesday. In both cases, the recommendations were opposed by Alderpersons Will Gregory and Kelly Catarozoli. The council first considered the acceptance of a letter of unconditional financing for the $7.8 million project from Baylake Bank for Sawyer Hotel, LLC and developer Bob Papke. The two opposing alderpersons said it was premature to take action given a number of unknowns, including a lawsuit that could determine that some of the land in question was in the public domain. Catarozoli said she needed more information before acting and Gregory said there was no need to rush at this time. He called the undertaking a bad deal for the city. But, Alderman Rich Wiesner said the development was good for the west side of Sturgeon Bay, an investment that will spur more development. The vote to accept the financing statement was approved on a vote of five to two.
The second action had to do with a resolution authorizing the sale of the waterfront parcel to Sawyer Hotel Development, LLC. City Attorney Randy Nesbitt pointed out that the resolution was being acted on to meet requirements of the title insurance company. Nesbitt said the city’s development agreement already conveys the property to the developer. The city attorney also commented on the reason for taking action now. He noted that the city would not be harmed no matter how litigation in federal court on the property goes, but was concerned that the city’s failure to meet requirements related to the development could lead to a multi-million dollar lawsuit from the developer because of delays in the process. As a side note, Nesbitt pointed out that Baylake Bank will not close on the transaction with the developer until all of the stipulations it has required have been completed, including the resolution of the lawsuit. So, for the time being, all parties are waiting for the resolution of court action on the matter.

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