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Posted: November 16, 2015 High over downtown: Centerpiece Eau Claire hotel undergoing stunning remake

Buzzing, grinding and pounding sounds filled the air Friday morning as construction workers assembled top-floor suites at The Lismore.

Straining to speak above the din and a nearby radio blaring a classic rock tune, Julia Johnson pointed to the extra-tall windows installed there to afford patrons and visitors stunning views of downtown, the Chippewa River and other features of the surrounding landscape. 

“One of these walls didn’t even have windows. It was just brick,” Johnson said of the former Ramada Convention Center that developers Pablo Properties purchased in December 2013 to remake into a new, more upscale hotel. “And on this wall, there were just regular-size windows. We had these larger windows installed to allow the people who stay here to enjoy their surroundings.”

Johnson is one of three members of Pablo Properties, along with JAMF Software co-founder Zach Halmstad and Johnson’s fellow JAMF employee Jason Wudi, who are redeveloping the property at 205 S. Barstow St. That effort has been ongoing for nearly two years, and the 112-room hotel is expected to open early next year. 

Their focus on a complete transformation of the 40-year-old property that had fallen into disrepair is readily apparent throughout an extensive remodeling of the building into The Lismore. The remake is about much more than a name change, however. 

The hotel’s outdated brick exterior has been replaced with a more attractive composite metal panel façade in shades of black. Its aged, outdated mechanical systems have been upgraded with high-end energy efficient systems. Worn-out carpet and hotel room furniture have been tossed and will be swapped for new, high-quality successors. The adjacent convention center, renamed Halls at The Lismore, has been revamped, too, and now offers a more modern, professional feel. 

The project contains a mix of design and materials meant to lend the building a unique feel that differentiates it from other hotels. 

For instance, the hotel will be home to a second-floor bar and adjacent deck that will offer attractive views of downtown. Accordion-style folding doors will open to lend patrons a sense of the outdoors when the weather is warm and will be closed when colder temperatures prevail.

The view will be even better from the hotel’s eighth-floor suites, thanks to those updated windows. The outmoded kitchen has been replaced by a modern one in which chefs will prepare high-quality, locally grown food. The coffee shop will be home to a juice bar. And a wall separating the kitchen from the hotel lobby will double as a 25-by-9-foot sculpture that combines wood and cobalt-blue glass. 


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