Search starts to find owner for Hotel Northland

Hotel Northland in Green Bay on January 11, 2018. (Photo credit: WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- After a forgettable 2017, everything is in place for a memorable 2018 for the Hotel Northland.

“It will start flying pretty soon,” said Paul Swanson, the Oshkosh attorney a judge appointed to clean up the messy Northland project. “In 30 days you're going to notice a pretty big difference.”

A judge's ruling earlier this week will allow for the completion of the renovation work that was interrupted for several months.

At this point, Swanson guesses renovation work is somewhere between 60 and 75 percent done.

With the money now in place to finish the $45 to $50 million project, Swanson is courting potential buyers.

“At this point it’s a free-for-all,” said Swanson. “I mean anybody that is a qualified purchaser that has the experience to run a hotel of this nature and obviously run it within the confines of the historic significance that it bears, the historic tax credits. I think we'll find out who has the money and experience to do it.”

“You don't just want a pretty building, but you really want something that is going to help generate revenue and generate activity in the downtown,” said Kevin Vonck, economic development director for Green Bay.

Kevin Vonck says there has been remarkable difference since Swanson took over decision making for the Northland.

“Getting it open is really what needs to happen in an expedited manner and I think all parties are working towards that,” said Vonck.

The hotel must open in 2018 to see the benefits of historic tax credits. The goal is to open in August, ahead of Packers season. Swanson believes there is no longer anything standing in the way from making that happen.

“Never say never, but I think we're pretty good now,” said Swanson.

The Northland's financing trouble started in late 2016 when the top lender pulled its $12.8 million loan, accusing the project’s developers at the time of loan defaults.

Virginia-based Octagon Finance has since taken over as the project's lead lender.

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