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Lake Lawn set to get 'a facelift'

Resort moves to next phase of redevelopment

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Oct. 17, 2007, 1:16 p.m.)


Lake Lawn Resort has moved into the next phase of its planned $390 million redevelopment.

The resort that sits on 275 acres of Delavan Lake lakefront is ready to sink $4 million into renovating all major public spaces, including meeting rooms, the main lobby, restaurants, bars and even bathrooms, according to a corporate announcement.

"Basically, it's a facelift," said Pat Nelson, president and chairman of the board who also owns a controlling interest in the resort.

"Everything is being done to the four-star level that we are taking this to."

Features from carpet to ceiling, pools to patios and wallpaper to wi-fi will be updated. However, little of the existing floor plan will change.

Work start next month and finish up in April, when the resort is at its slowest.

"We're open 365 so as we do this, we want to make sure we're not interrupting our guests' experience," Nelson said.

While areas of the resort will be temporarily closed, none of the services will disappear during construction, Nelson said.

The resort recently completed a $35 million remodeling of 222 existing guest rooms, most of which were sold as condominium units for investors.  The resort still has about 20 left unsold, Nelson said.

Plans to add more lakefront condos near the marina and a 455-room hotel with waterpark are still in the plans, but the order in doing them has been shuffled.

Owners plan to finish the public areas and then begin work on 130, two- to three-bedroom lakefront condo units on the eastern half of the property. The timeframe for completing that project is market-driven, but reservations to secure buying one are already being taken, said Susan Stoga, company spokeswoman.

"When we started selling the lodges-our existing units-we had a lot of people that were looking for a more traditional type and feel of a condo rather than a hotel," Nelson said, explaining why the hotel and waterpark plans fell back on the order of things to do. "We hope to start it next spring. We need a few more approvals to get to that, but we're working toward it."



Renovation highlights

* Renovation of the guest lobby at the resort's entrance that will include added sitting areas and a new concierge's desk.

* Refurbishing all 32,000 square feet of meeting space. The resort will invest more than $350,000 in technological upgrades, including Wi-Fi Internet, high-definition projectors and LCD TVs.

* Renovating the Frontier Restaurant and Look Out Bar, including the addition of a new bar as part of the restaurant

* Furnishings in the public areas will follow a contemporary, upscale "lodge style" décor. Color schemes are generally rich natural tones, using burgundy, tans, blues greens and browns.

* One thing won't change much. "I think we're never going to change the post-and-beam lodge effect. That's always going to be here. That's who we are," said Tom Ruhs, CEO of Delavan Resort Holdings, the resort's owners group.




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