Update provided by Eau Claire City Manager Dale Peters:
The follow information, which was developed jointly with UWEC, may be helpful. Please use any or all of this information to update your membership on the status of the project.
The decision by the YMCA to withdraw from participation in the Sonnentag Complex Project has led to a fundamental reimagining of the recreation and fitness component of the project, including how best to accommodate the requisite number of basketball/sports courts for Visit Eau Claire to capitalize on youth sports and other tourism attraction opportunities, as well as the facility needs of UW-Eau Claire and UWEC students. This change has also required a re-examination of the financial pro forma models previously being used by partners for operational modeling purposes.
Representatives of UW-Eau Claire (including Chancellor Schmidt), Blugold Real Estate Foundation, City of Eau Claire (including City Manager Dale Peters), and Visit Eau Claire have been meeting at least once a week for the past five weeks to continue working through potential design and pro forma changes to the project and to define/refine details of the partnership between the city, Visit Eau Claire, UW-Eau Claire and Blugold Real Estate.
Mayo Clinic is also being consulted regarding potential design and pro forma changes and how its footprint/business operations may evolve as a result of the YMCA withdrawal. Mayo remains a committed partner in the project.
Eau Claire Community Complex, the developer of the project – has asked the design and construction management team (Ayres, Kahler-Slater, Market & Johnson) to explore a number of design options and to develop cost estimates for each option. Eau Claire Community Complex also is working with Sports Facility Advisory and Sports Facility Management to obtain professional guidance and best practice information on operational budgets and market opportunities related to the various design scenarios. It is anticipated that by January 17 the groups will have the data necessary to decide on specific direction regarding the program for event, fitness and recreation components in the Sonnentag Complex.
Blugold Real Estate Foundation is developing a Request for Information to solicit proposals from parties who may be interested in developing a hotel/restaurant on property owned by Blugold Real Estate near the Sonnentag Complex. That RFI is expected to be released by January 10.
The original target date for a City Council public discussion about possible City of Eau Claire and Visit Eau Claire participation in the Sonnentag Complex Development was January 13. For reasons that have been outlined, that target date has been moved to January 27.
In the meantime, all parties will continue to work together, and with their individual governance groups, to develop a memorandum of intent outlining the expansion of the event center portion of the project from 4,100 to more than 5,000 capacity, to meet the requisite basketball/sport court requirements for youth sports tournaments and other tourism opportunities, and to gauge interest in the development of a hotel/restaurant on the Sonnentag Complex site.
Eau Claire City Manager
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.