Developer Robert Dunn is moving to get a building permit for his $98 million redevelopment of The Edgewater hotel and estimates the project will produce 700 construction jobs starting around October.
Dunn expects the hotel will create 250 permanent jobs in addition to 100 to 150 indirect jobs in the area when it reopens in 2014.
The developer said he expects to follow a previous deal with the Building Trades Council of south-central Wisconsin to ensure the long-stalled redevelopment is a union project.
The union agreement, announced in September 2010, promised outreach, especially to targeted populations; training; safety initiatives; and internships and apprenticeships after the hotel opens.
Dunn said he must still meet with union leaders but added, "At this point, I'm not anticipating we're going to approach this project any differently."
"It's great news," trades council president Steve Breitlow, who has been a strong advocate of the redevelopment, said of The Edgewater moving forward. "The project needs to be done. It will be a much-needed shot in the arm and a catalyst for other projects."
The developer's team is meeting with city officials this week to review final steps needed for a building permit, Dunn said.
The city attorney's office confirmed Dunn must only submit proof of financing and contracts with construction firms for the project to go forward.
Dunn said he and a small group of investors have financing and are in the final stages of negotiating construction contracts.
"I expect within days or weeks, we'll have everything with the city done," he said.
Steve Cover, the city's director of Planning, Community and Economic Development, said land use approvals given in May 2010 are good through early 2013. Outside the last two requirements, "It appears it is basically ready to go," he said.
Dunn intends to break ground on UW-Madison's homecoming weekend Oct. 26 and finish the project in the late spring of 2014.
Dunn, president of Hammes Co., recently joined with a group of investors including philanthropists W. Jerome Frautschi and his wife, Pleasant Rowland, to overcome a $16 million financing gap — a sum Dunn hoped would be covered with public assistance — that stalled the project.
The investment group will follow plans approved by the city two years ago, which restore the original hotel, cut the size of a 1970s addition and set a public terrace atop it overlooking Lake Mendota, create a staircase to the lake and erect a nine-story tower.
As part of the land use approvals, public access will remain to some elements such as the main terrace, stairways to the lake, terraces along the shoreline, and public restrooms, Cover and Dunn agreed.
Under a management agreement, the public will have access from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., 365 days a year. Dunn is responsible for maintenance and security of public elements, and can close all or part of the upper terrace up to 15 times a year. The public space is also to be used for the benefit of nonprofits or community groups at least eight times a year.