A plan to build two new hotels and another commercial business where the Clarion now stands is up for final approval during today’s 4 p.m. Eau Claire City Council meeting at the county Courthouse, 721 Oxford Ave.
Craig Road Lodging, which is owned by locally based hospitality company Larson Cos., proposes to redevelop land where the hotel and closed Green Mill Restaurant now stand at 2703 Craig Road on the city’s southwest side.
After demolishing the 46-year-old Clarion — formerly a Holiday Inn — this summer, construction would begin on a four-story, 90-room hotel with a planned opening in spring 2020.
Elsewhere on the 5.3-acre site, a second hotel would be built at a later date with 103 guest rooms.
Larson Cos. intends to put a third commercial building on the property, but its tenants and construction timeline is not yet known.
In addition to approving the plans, the council will be voting on a slight zoning change on the property that will allow buildings closer to roads.
Currently there is a 70-foot setback along Highway 37 and 30 feet on the Craig Road side of the property. The plans show those reduced to 30 feet and 20 feet, respectively.
Those smaller setbacks did get support from city planning staff as there is a frontage road — Harvest Court — between the hotel property and Highway 37.
Save for Councilman Andrew Werthmann asking a clarifying question about the reduced setbacks, there were no other comments made during a Monday night public hearing on the project.
Monday night’s council meeting lasted only 17 minutes with just the Clarion replacement and an open public comment period on the agenda.
Local beekeeper Corey Grotte spoke during the latter to voice problems he has with recent changes to Eau Claire’s beekeeping ordinance.
A fee increase for a beekeeping license makes Eau Claire significantly more expensive than other cities in the state for keeping hives, he said. An annual license costs $75 here, he noted, compared to $10 in Madison.