Grafton hotels cause uncertainty for Cedarburg market
Business clientele could be affected

By Alison Henderson - News Graphic Staff

August 22, 2017

CEDARBURG — Cedarburg city officials entertaining the idea of a new hotel will proceed with caution as work begins on Grafton’s extended-stay TownePlace Suites, east of Interstate 43 and Highway 60.

“I’m concerned about the impact that the TownePlace Suites will have (on) the Cedarburg market,” hotel consultant Michael Lindner said in an email to Economic Development Coordinator Mary Sheffield in July.

The city commissioned Lindner to complete a hotel feasibility study last year after being approached by a franchise that wanted to build in Cedarburg.

Lindner concluded that there was a demand for a 50- to 60-room upper-midscale hotel franchise, such as Hampton Inn. Identifying a market of families and corporate travelers, the study noted Pioneer Road as an ideal location for its proximity to large area-companies, Cedarburg’s downtown and local amenities, like the Ozaukee Ice Center.

But Lindner said TownePlace Suites’s 87 rooms and extended stay features will target the hospital, Concordia University Wisconsin and other businesses in the area that he was counting on for a Cedarburg market.

“Grafton is positioning itself as a lodging and service ‘hub,’” he said. “If the hotels in Grafton are successful in pulling demand generated south of Cedarburg (and Cedarburg itself) it will take a unique product and location to compete,” he said.

However, he explained that Grafton’s 83-room Hampton Inn at 1385 Gateway Drive “absorbed” quickly into the market – defined by Grafton, Port Washington, Cedarburg and surrounding communities – which indicated a need for more lodging.

“It is very likely that TownePlace will be absorbed (occupancy will reach stabilized levels) as quick as the Hampton, indicating even more room for additional supply,” he said.

The information has not been formally incorporated into the city’s hotel study results, but Sheffield said Lindner’s opinion gives the city some direction now that there is more hotel activity in Grafton.

He advised that the city either wait and monitor the impact of TownePlace or determine a plan for competing with the Grafton lodging options. Sheffield shared the information with the Economic Development Board during its July 26 meeting. The board determined it would be best to wait, which Sheffield noted isn’t much different than the approach they were already taking.

“That was always our attitude,” she said. “We’re not out there chasing things down, but we wanted to explore the option because some interest had come forward.”

She said nothing concrete has come forward, but they will continue to work on it and talk with anyone who is interested. She said both Pioneer Road and Highway 60 are still ideal locations.