Plan Commission approves tourist rooming house in downtown Cedarburg building

The Purnell’s Airbnb in Cedarburg. The Purnells hope to open it in April and possibly put a retail store on the first floor.


CEDARBURG — The Cedarburg Plan Commission granted conditional use approval to a couple looking to convert an upper-level downtown apartment unit located at W61 N510 Washington Ave. into a tourist rooming home.

The building housed the former Glad Rags and was previously considered for a CBD Dispensary in 2019. The building was recently purchased by Mike and Cindi Purnell of Oconomowoc.

“We’re renovating the place to make it a very special place in Cedarburg,” Mike Purnell said.

This will be the couple’s third Airbnb.

The upper floor consists of one unit with two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and a full bathroom, according to the documents prepared by City Planner Jon Censky. The site has parking for up to four cars in the rear of the building. The only change to the exterior of the building will be the replacement of all windows with matching wood windows, which was approved by the Landmarks Commission in January.

“We’ve approved a number of these in the downtown area and I think it’s a good use. Staff has no objection,” Censky said, adding that they recommended approval.

Mike Purnell said they hope to open the Airbnb sometime in April this year.

Retail on first floor

Mike Purnell said they hope to open a retail store on the first floor, which would support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are looking for employment in the area.

“We don’t know what it is quite yet but we’re working towards that,” he said.

In June, the Purnells purchased a home in Cedarburg so students with intellectual and developmental disabilities from Bethesda College of Applied Learning can continue to live independently after graduation. The couple also encouraged local businesses to consider hiring people like the students of Bethesda College, so they can stay independent and fully immerse themselves in their community.