Cobblestone Hotels is undertaking a major renovation of the Badger Hotel in Merrill, in preparation for converting it to their Boarders Inn & Suites brand. As real exterior work progressed in the background, a ceremonial groundbreaking for the renovation was held at the site Thursday.
“This is a really exciting project for us,” said Cobblestone Hotels President & CEO Brian Wogernese. “It’s a great building in a great community; it just needs a little refresher. When we’re all done on the inside, it will look like a brand new hotel.”
The company, founded nine years ago in Neenah, Wisconsin, just opened its 80th hotel. Most of their hotels are new construction, bearing the Cobblestone brand. The purchase and renovation of the Badger Hotel marks a new focus on the Boarders Inn & Suites brand, which involves the conversion of existing hotels. The Merrill property, built as a Super 8 about 25 years ago, is the 14th conversion in the Cobblestone system.
The project has already started with landscaping and tree removal. The roofing project is slated to get underway next week. The parking lot will also be torn up and resurfaced this fall.
The interior will get a complete makeover, including complete renovations of each guest room. The work will be done in phases so that the hotel can remain open throughout the project.
The Badger’s bar has been removed and that room will be converted into a breakfast area for guests. A new computer system has been installed and technology will be integrated into the building.
Wogernese said the whole project is expected to be completed in December. Once the renovation is nearing completion, the branding will be changed to Boarders Inn & Suites.
“We won’t change the name until the guest experience is what we want it to be,” Wogernese said. “It will be what you would expect in a mid-scale hotel.”
The facility retains general manager James Krueger and the Badger Hotel staff. Wogernese said he hopes to be able to add some jobs to the Merrill community as occupancy increases.