WoodSpring Suites proceeding with Milwaukee south side hotel after facing roadblocks
Tom Daykin | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | October 12, 2017 3:20pm
Oct. 10--An extended-stay hotel chain that has faced roadblocks in its attempts to enter the Milwaukee area apparently is getting its first location on the city's far south side.
WoodSpring Suites plans to develop its first Wisconsin hotel at 1701 W. Layton Ave. Construction on the four-story, 124-room hotel near Mitchell International Airport could begin this fall.
The delayed proposal would proceed if the Common Council approves a certified survey map for the development site at its Nov. 17 meeting, said Brian Randall, WoodSpring's attorney.
The council's Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee on Tuesday unanimously recommended approval for the map.
The committee voted, with no discussion, after Ald. James Bohl, committee chair, said it was something the committee is required by state law to do.
Such map approvals usually happen routinely. It's needed for WoodSpring because the development parcel is being split off from a larger lot.
The hotel, with an estimated $4 million construction cost, would be just west of I-94 on a vacant parcel purchased from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The parcel's zoning allows hotels, and Wichita, Kan.-based WoodSpring has its building permits.
But the Plan Commission in May voted to deny the survey map request -- despite a recommendation for approval from Mayor Tom Barrett's Department of City Development.
Commission members voted after hearing opposition from Ald. Terry Witkowski, whose district includes the development site, and Deb Ritter, a resident of the Bostonian Village North condos, which is south of the proposed hotel site.
Both Witkowski and Ritter said an office building would be a better use for the parcel. WoodSpring would use 3 acres of the 11-acre lot.
Witkowski also told commission members WoodSpring "does not have a great reputation" and has been turned away in other Milwaukee-area communities.
At that point, the survey map's review process "became political instead of technical," according to a lawsuit WoodSpring filed in August.
The full council rejected the map request at its June 20 meeting after Witkowski said the map was inaccurate. WoodSpring called that decision arbitrary and unreasonable.
The map is now "in proper form," Vanessa Koster, city planning manager, told zoning committee members Tuesday.
Witkowski couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
WoodSpring also has faced opposition over hotels proposed in Greenfield, West Milwaukee and Menomonee Falls. That opposition is tied to the chain's niche of offering bargain-priced rooms for guests who stay several days.
Tom Daykin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org