WAUKESHA — The Clarke Hotel, which includes a restaurant and bar, could change ownership by March.
“ADH Properties, LLC c/o Berg Management Company, LLC, does have an accepted offer on The Clarke Hotel. If all goes well, the closing will be March 1, 2023. At this time, we do intend to keep the hotel, restaurant, and bar open,” said Rosie Strauss, commercial property manager with Berg Management Company. Harp & Eagle Limited is the hospitality group that currently owns The Clarke Hotel, 314 W. Main St.
Waukesha County Supervisor Larry Nelson remembers the redevelopment of the hotel from his time as Waukesha mayor. He worked with many other officials such as Jennifer Payne, formerly Jim Payne, who was the first Waukesha city administrator to revitalize the aging building.
When Nelson was elected mayor in 2006, the building was described as the worst in downtown Waukesha.
“It was a negative factor at that time,” he said.
Nelson said he, Payne, former community development director Steve Crandell and former city administrator Lori Luther worked together on a plan that used tax incremental financing to make the boutique hotel a reality.
Andy Ruggeri, former owner of the Clarke Hotel and former Black Trumpet Restaurant, 314 W. Main St., renovated the century-old building.
Ruggeri and business partner Drew Vallozzi gutted the neglected structure, which was actually five separate buildings that over time had been connected.
“Many people recognize that having it go from one of the worst buildings to one of the best buildings has been a crucial positive in helping other businesses decide to come to downtown Waukesha or stay in downtown Waukesha,” Nelson said.
Nelson added many of the new business owners said the remodeling of the building was the catalyst for the decision to bring their businesses to downtown Waukesha.
“That’s one of the reasons that the Taylors decided to bring People’s Park to Waukesha as well as a number of other businesses. I’m very happy to hear a company like Berg Management, with an excellent track record, are going to be taking it over,” he said.
Nelson added Berg Management did an incredible job with the Rotunda and remodeling of the original county courthouse.
“I’m excited to hear that the hotel and restaurant will continue because the renovation of the Clarke building has been a key factor in the renaissance of historic downtown Waukesha,” Nelson said.