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Four Years of Dogged Determination Pay off as Robert Dunn, Developer
of the $98 million Edgewater Hotel Rebirth in Wisconsin, Meets
Building Permit Requirements, Sets Reconstruction Timeline

By Dean Mosiman, The Wisconsin State JournalMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 30, 2012--After four years of effort, developer Robert Dunn is poised to proceed with the $98 million rebirth of the historic Edgewater hotel.

Dunn, who announced in late July that he would forge ahead with no public financing and new investment by a group of philanthropists, has now given the city proof of financing and a construction contract, the final requirements for a building permit.

The developer expects to secure the permit in the coming weeks, have a groundbreaking around the time of the last home UW football game on the weekend of Nov. 17, and close the existing hotel for reconstruction on Nov. 19.

"We've always stayed focused on moving forward," Dunn said, adding that he is especially pleased with final design details and furnishing choices. "It's going to be everything and more that I always hoped it would be."

Steve Cover, city director of Planning and Community and Economic Development, who has final say on the building permit, could not be reached Monday.

The redevelopment plans, approved in 2010, restore the Art Moderne style of the original hotel, built in 1948, cut the size of a 1970s addition, set a public terrace atop it overlooking Lake Mendota, create a staircase to the lake and erect a nine-story tower.

The new Edgewater will have 189 rooms, up to 10 luxury condos, banquet, meeting and retail space, restaurants, a pier and docks, a winter ice skating rink and underground parking.

Dunn's financing includes $15.9 million already spent for property acquisition and project development, a $36 million construction loan, and $46.1 million in equity investments and further contributions by the developer, according to an Oct. 25 letter to the city from one of the lenders, BankMutual of Brookfield.

The $98 million cost includes $56.3 million for construction, $8.85 million for furnishings, fixtures and equipment, and $16.95 million for financing and "soft costs" and a contingency, the letter states. The loan is approved and set to close no later than Nov. 26, it states.

A construction services agreement with J.H. Findorff & Son shows all work will be done for $56.3 million and the project finished by July 15, 2014.


(c)2012 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)

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