June 6, 2019 1:35p
(WGTD)---A Kenosha against-the-odds success story was celebrated Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Stella, a hotel and restaurant that sprung up from the ruins of the old Elk’s Club building.
A citizen’s group that was formed six years ago to save the building enticed a builder that specializes in restoring old buildings to visit. At the time, the structure was just days away from demolition, according to former Mayor Keith Bosman. "We had the money on the table," recalls Bosman, who said he toured the building at the time and found it to be in complete disrepair. "To think that somebody could make something of it was really a long shot at the time," Bosman said just before Thursday's ceremony.
Gorman & Company took up the restoration challenge which a company official said was the firm's biggest. "This topped them all," said Gorman Wisconsin Market President Ted Matkom.
$26 million later, the 100-year-old building includes a new addition, 80 hotel rooms, a fine-dining restaurant, a bar and conference rooms.
"Beyond expectations," is how Kenosha Area Business Alliance President Todd Battle described the end result. Battle said he views the project as a catalyst for future development in downtown Kenosha.