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Downtown Eau Claire hotel and event center will be completely renovated and reborn as The Lismore

Posted January 22nd, 2015

  • RSP Architects

Downtown Eau Claire Hotel and Event Center Will Be Completely Renovated and Reborn as The Lismore

Eau Claire, Wisconsin. – After a year of planning, demolition, and discovery, the engineering and design plans are moving forward for The Lismore at 205 S. Barstow Street. The inspirationfor the name of the property was taken from Eau Claire’s Australian sister city, Lismore, which is also located at the confluence of two rivers. The ambitious hotel retrofit will bring a new restaurant, coffee shop, and bar to downtown Eau Claire, which will add to the development momentum of a growing Farmer’s Market, downtown apartments, JAMF Software’s new office building, another boutique hotel, and the much-heralded Confluence Project.

The hometown ownership group, Pablo Properties, which includes Zach Halmstad of JAMF Software, has worked with RSP Architects of Minneapolis on the design for the $16 million renovation. Local firm Market & Johnson has been demolishing the interior and will manage the construction. Thus far they have removed over 111 tons of contaminated and non-recyclable materials from the site and have recycled 18.4 tons of metal, 360,000 linear feet of electrical cabling, and 6,300 yards of old carpet. As Brad Kemis of Market & Johnson notes, “The hotel will undergo a major renovation and transformation.

Every surface in the hotel will be rebuilt with new materials.”The drastic changes were necessary, because as Halmstad explains, "The building's structure isin great shape but almost everything else needs work. The extent of the renovation is driven by design consideration and the need to replace failed systems. Our goal is to create a first class experience for the people of Eau Claire as well as visitors to our community, and we’re makinga huge investment to ensure that we do it right."

• On the inside, new HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems will be installed, along withindustrial modern finishes that pay homage to Wisconsin with the warmth of natural materials such as wood, steel, glass, and metal. The interior will be reconfigured to offer flexible community spaces, including a full-service coffee shop complete with stonefireplace, a restaurant, and a bar with an adjacent rooftop deck, situated in what was oncethe pool. The bar will be accessible through a central lobby staircase.

• On the outside of the eight-story hotel, a deck and green space will be created at streetlevel, and the walls will be opened up with windows and re-clad in Corten steel panels on Barstow Street and Gibson Streets. The rest of the exterior will be freshened with acovering of anodized metal panels in three shades of black.

• The Event Halls will be the first area of the property to be transformed by the addition of first floor bathrooms and completely new décor that matches the design of the hotel. With a total of 13,800 square feet of event space, composed of two rooms measuring 7200 and 6600 square feet, the new halls will offer the largest pair of event spaces adjacent to ahotel within the Eau Claire region. “We anticipate a large clientele for meetings, weddingsand other celebrations, we are already booking for the second half of 2015,” reports JasonAnderson, event consultant at The Lismore.

Jasen Mark, a consultant with Empirical Hotel Investments who has worked closely on theproject notes, “We have been working closely with Hilton Worldwide and will be affiliating theHotel with the DoubleTree Hotel brand. We are very excited about our future relationship withHilton, as the property will greatly benefit from being a part of one of the best reservationsystems on the planet. Specifically, the property will be The Lismore Hotel, a DoubleTree byHilton.

”When complete, The Lismore will include 112 guest rooms including 5 king suites, created by combining 2 regular rooms, and 2 deluxe king suites, created by combining 4 regular rooms .In addition to the event spaces and hotel rooms, the property will include a destination 100+seat farm-to-fork restaurant with patio seating, a second floor bar with outdoor terrace, and aground floor coffee shop, all launched and managed by Terry Vajgrt and Paula Williams-Vajgrt, former owners (’08-’11) of the much-beloved pastoral haven The Creamery.

In the restaurant, Terry and Paula plan to take up where The Creamery left off when it closed in2011. With an exhibition kitchen, a wood-fired roasting oven, and a commitment to local farmers, growers and foragers, the couple intends to showcase the bounty of the region.

“We’re rekindling our connections with local producers and foragers, as well as with local culinary and hospitality talent and recruiting nationally for open positions. Paula is consultingon the project and I’ll be handling the human resources and general management of these outlets,” says Terry.

“I wanted the restaurant at The Lismore to be a place I wanted to eat at and that would be a destination. I know what Paula and Terry and their team at The Creamery created, and I’m incredibly excited about what they will build here” notes Halmstad, “Eau Claire is ready for this project — a great spot in a vibrant downtown that will focus on quality and locally sourced food. ”