Judge: Harenda is sole owner of Hotel Northland

Hotel Northland as seen on Jan. 11, 2017. (WLUK/Gabrielle Mays)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- The dispute over who owns the Hotel Northland appears to be settled.

Brown County Judge William Atkinson ruled Keith Harenda is the sole owner of the 93-year-old downtown Green Bay property.

“Mr. Frantz, at this time, by stipulation of the parties has no interest in the Hotel Northland project, so it's clear,” said Atkinson.

Harenda believes Atkinson’s decision is what he needed to finish the renovation of the historic hotel.

“I'm tired of all the drama, moving forward,” said Harenda.

A settlement agreement calls for Harenda to pay his former partner, Mike Frantz, $500,000, protect or compensate him for loan guarantees and pay him no less than $1.1 million in development fees. In exchange, Frantz gives up ownership rights and negotiates agreements with companies suing the project to no longer pursue legal action for unpaid work.

“I just want to get it settled,” said Frantz. “I just want to go away, let it digest for a while. Hopefully they can make it happen. I don't agree with their business model and that's part of the reason that we ended up where we are today.”

Court documents show the friction between Frantz and Harenda started last May when the project's top bank sent the developers a default notice. Late last year, the bank pulled its $12.8 million loan.

Harenda has said gaining sole ownership allows him to finalize a replacement loan.

“All the junior lenders have to approve this,” said Brigette Breitenbach, a spokesperson for Harenda. “That includes the City of Green Bay, so we'll have to present the loan terms to the common council, so they can review them and approve them.”

“If my experience says anything, there is probably something where they are going to try to get into the city's back pockets on it, so we'll see,” said Alderman Guy Zima. “I'm waiting. I haven't seen the document yet.”

Harenda's goal is to finalize the loan by the end of the month, resume construction May 1st, and open the hotel this fall.

Over a period of time, Harenda claimed the hotel work was 70 percent complete. Since then, construction has slowed basically to a halt, because of the money issues.

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