Fate Of Edgewater Hotel Project Remains Uncertain

The future of the Edgewater Hotel renovation project appears grim as the plan’s developer and Madison city officials face off.

Officials with the developer, Hammes Co., said they might consider legal action if city officials do as they have promised while Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is all but saying the project to remake and expand the historic hotel in the city’s downtown is dead.

With about two weeks left in the year, Soglin said on Friday that there’s just no more time. He said the Edgewater project will not see the $16 million in tax incremental financing (TIF) that developers had been promised last year.

Soglin said that standing in the way is that the city is missing two critical documents from the Hammes Co.: A construction contract and a complete financial statement.

He said that without those documents, there will be no TIF funding for the project.

“It’s certainly not happening this year,” Soglin said. “And they have said with $3.3 million in financing on TIF, it won’t happen in the future. I think you can add those two up to say it’s probably not going to happen.”

Earlier this year, the Common Council slashed the $16 million in funding approved in 2010 to just $3.3 million for next year’s budget.

Developer Bob Dunn said he believe it’s a breach of the city’s agreement from 2010, and he’ll consider a lawsuit if his project doesn’t get the funding it was granted. Dunn said he has met every single requirement — 74 of them — that he was told he had to do to secure the funding for proposed $90.5-million project.

Dunn said he thinks the mayor is making up new rules.

“He wants to keep adding these new conditions to a long, long list of things we’ve already satisfied,” Dunn said. “It’s sad. I don’t know how else to say it. We’ve worked hard to get a monumental project done in the city, and now, to have this nonsense thrown at us at the 11th hour. The bottom line is the city had to (have) done one thing, and it won’t do what it needs to do to meet its obligation.”

Dunn wouldn’t said he will definitely sue the city, but said it’s looking as if it might be his only option.

When asked about the possibility of a lawsuit, Soglin said that he’s not worried as the developer would have a weak case.