Worries grow about weather, open windows at dormant Hotel Northland
GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- There is growing concern that stalled construction work at Green Bay's Hotel Northland is at risk of being damaged.
“I normally walk my dog past the hotel and I see at any given time, open windows on a regular basis,” said Rhonda Sitnikau, a former city council candidate.
Sitnikau has been taking pictures of open windows at the Northland ever since financing issues shut down renovation work in June. Sitnikau says an upper level window on the building, which was open Wednesday evening, has been that way for at least the last two weeks.
“There has been some controversy, so I've just been watching and paying attention,” said Sitnikau.
“We've had other reports of windows being opened,” said Kevin Vonck, the city’s economic development director. “We forwarded them on to get them closed. If there is still one on, we will follow up and make sure that gets closed.”
Vonck believes any security issues were taken care of last month after teenagers were arrested for entering the hotel through a parking ramp entrance.
Vonck says except for emergencies, Hotel Northland owner Keith Harenda is the only person with access to the building.
Harenda has been unable to properly finance renovation work, and a judge is expected to strip him of decision making powers in the project next month.
The hotel is in receivership; which city officials consider a better alternative than bankruptcy. A judge is expected to select a receiver to take over decision making for the project on October 3rd.
“We at city staff, public works, our police department are making sure to keep an eye on the building to make sure it does stay secure,” said Vonck.
While the building might be secure from intruders, the city's historic preservation commission is worried it’s not protected from winter. The power has been off for months.
“We want to make sure that the power is on in such a way that the woodwork won't get damaged, there won't be water in the elevators, mold, any other factors that could come into a building,” said Mark Steuer, a Green Bay alderman and member of the historic preservation committee.
Vock says the power won't likely be back on until a judge selects a receiver to finish the project. That would mean workers, and perhaps more importantly, financing would return with a goal of opening the hotel next summer.
At the beginning of this year, the project’s price tag was estimated to be about $44 million dollars.
Octagon Finance has said it will pay for the hotel to be finished, as well as pay money owed to subcontractors for work already completed. The Virginia based company specializes in bridge funding for historic renovation projects. Octagon says the financing is dependent on a receiver being selected, and the project being finished in one year.