former Olympia Resort and Conference Center sits empty
behind a “SOLD” sign. Stewart Wangard, chairman and CEO
of Wangard Partners, bought the 28-acre property for
$3.4 million on Nov. 29.
Alex Nemec/Freeman Staff
OCONOMOWOC — The vacant, 28-acre
Olympia Resort and Conference Center property was sold for $3.4
million to Wangard Partners on Nov. 29, according to First Weber
Group Financial business broker Devin Piehl and former owner Rick
Eckert’s business broker.
Chairman and CEO of Wangard Partners Stewart Wangard said he has
known Eckert for over two decades and Wangard Partners can upgrade
the various buildings in the area.
“We feel that it’s time for that area to have a new life, but that
new life will not include it being operated as a resort,” Wangard
Instead, the vacant hotel will be remodeled into apartments, Wangard
“We plan on making every three hotel rooms into one apartment,
cutting the number of rooms from around to 300 to around 110,”
Wangard said hallways will be renovated, energy efficiency upgrades
will be installed, the outdoor pool would be renovated and the
indoor pool would be made into an amenity area.
Piehl said Eckert has a bittersweet feeling about selling the
property after trying to do so for more than two years.
“(Eckert) is happy to finally be fully retired, but he is a little
sad knowing it won’t be a hotel anymore,” Piehl said.
Piehl said Eckert worked in hospitality for over 20 years.
“All in all, this deal worked best for (Eckert),” Piehl said.
The space between Summit Avenue and the Olympia property could be
developed as commercial, Wangard said.
“There is currently one group interested to make it into office
buildings and there are two retailers interested in the space as
well,” Wangard said.
Wangard said it’s ultimately up to the city of Oconomowoc to work
with him on creating the vision for property.
Oconomowoc Mayor Dave Nold said the city has meetings with Wangard
scheduled for this week to talk about plans for the project.
Nold said the Summit Avenue Corridor is one of the most crucial
areas for redevelopment in the city.
“That area is ripe for redevelopment and I hope they work together
with the surrounding properties to create something special,” Nold
Oconomowoc is coming into its own right now, growing from a mill
town at its inception to becoming a major resort community, then
transforming into a major medical center for Waukesha County and
having a robust downtown, Wangard said.
“This is not something that would draw away from any of that,”
Wangard said. “But it will compliment all of that, just like we have
done on the north side of town.”
Wangard said he is still trying to get ideas from the community and
the city about what to develop from the old conference center.
“There has been discussion about a need for recreational space and
I’d like to hear some of the ideas the community has for that space
before we try to tackle that,” Wangard said.
With the project being in its infancy, Wangard said he doesn’t know
how he will get the community input, but he wants citizens and the
city staff to be involved.
Nold said he thinks Wangard’s redevelopment of the Summit Avenue
corridor is going to be great.
“I think it’s going to be a huge plus for the community,” Nold said.
“It could be one of the biggest things to happen to the city of
Oconomowoc and I’m excited to see the plans he brings us.”