Olympia Resort will not be converted into a retirement village and
will remain a resort, the property’s owner, Rick Eckert, told The
Eckert said he
called Oconomowoc City Planner/Zoning Administrator Jason Gallo to
drop the rezoning request for the property — a change that Eckert
would have needed to convert Olympia’s 256-room main building into a
138-apartment retirement village.
after long meetings with the city and other people that we’re going
to remain a resort,” Eckert said.
The proposal to
convert Olympia into a retirement village for those 55 and older met
considerable opposition from the Common Council Nov. 15 when it
decided to move the proposed rezoning of the property as well as the
creation of a Planned Development Overlay District ordinance for the
property back to the Plan Commission. Council members said
throughout the meeting that the conversion plans lacked a lot of
detail. The council eventually determined that by moving the
proposed rezoning and ordinance back to the commission, the city
could get the information it needed.
that decision to drop the conversion effort “wasn’t forced” by the
city’s decision, but was more the result of other developments.
reopening of Highway 67 has provided huge hope for Olympia’s future,
Eckert said. He said the long-term work on the major highway caused
considerable struggles for his business.
pertaining to the state of resorts and future of 55-and-over
retirement villages have also changed quite a bit from when he last
spoke to The Freeman in early October.
Eckert said a
recent study Olympia had conducted concluded there is “over
saturation” of retirement villages similar to the “Genesis Villages
at Olympia” that had been proposed.
going for 55 and over because it’s (the percentage of the U.S.
population at 55 or over) never been higher than 26 percent of the
population, he said.”
expressed concern with a business venture that wouldn’t cater to a
large portion of the population.
“Why would we
diminish the business that we could get?” he said.
expressed concerns as well about having to compete with Shorehaven
and its current upgrades. He praised Shorehaven’s resources and the
business it operates.
Eckert said he
might also be moving to a new chapter in his life.
“I’m 70 years
old,” he said. “It’s time for me to retire.”
Eckert said at
least one group — which he declined to name — is interested in
purchasing Olympia. He said that group has said it would plan to
maintain Olympia as a resort following a purchase.
“We’ve been a
resort for 40 years,” Eckert added. “We’re going to remain a resort
for another 40 years.”
<<EARLIER: Proposed change of Olympia Resort hits