Olympia property sells for $3.4M to Wangard Partners
Wangard: City, community will have a key role moving forward

By Alex Nemec

Dec. 11, 2018

 The 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 said.

Instead, the vacant hotel will be remodeled into apartments, Wangard said.

“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.

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.

Future plans

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 said.

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.”