HK Hospitality Management LLC is hoping to purchase and transform the Cable, Wis., facility into a 250-room resort with a 20,000-sq. ft. conference center. The company is also in talks about a potential purchase of or partnership with the Telemark and Spider Lake golf courses.
HK Hospitality Management LLC hopes to pen a deal to purchase and rebuild the Telemark Lodge in Cable, Wis., the Duluth, Minn.-based Business North reported.
The management company and state, regional and local officials are discussing a possible purchase and hope to sign an agreement for Telemark Lodge this fall, with the intention of closing on the deal before year-end, Business North reported.
“This is an exciting time, but I want to make it clear: If this happens, we are not just buying Telemark and reopening it. We are rebuilding it to be a year-round resort, training and conference center,” HK Hospitality’s Jim Kelley said.
The company is conducting final due diligence and completing an additional feasibility study, but Kelley doesn’t anticipate those steps will prevent the project from advancing, Business North reported.
“HK Hospitality Management LLC does not perceive that either will give any reason for HK not to continue as planned, as we have over the last 2+ years put a great deal of attention into the details to make this project work,” Kelley said.
The group is willing to invest $47 million to purchase and rebuild the lodge. Once complete, it would be a 250-room resort with a 20,000-sq. ft. conference center. While much of the work would involve new construction, Kelley wants to build on the legacy of Telemark, Business North reported.
“We anticipate keeping the lobby and historical fireplace,” Kelley said. “We want to build on the glory days of Telemark.”
But unlike previous owners, their plan will focus on creating a year-round destination beyond regional tourists. That would include building on the strong reputation of Telemark in years past, sponsoring world-class winter activities such as the American Birkebeiner. They will make a considerable investment in an aggressive marketing plan to introduce the region in key metro areas such as Chicago and the Twin Cities, Business North reported.
Developers also plan to host a series of premiere interactive weekends. They could include events such as partnering with national food publications to host up to three regional Midwest Food and Wine events per year, or, host famed recording artists for a weekend where guests can hear their music, but also attend seminars and interact with the musicians. They are also considering Academy Award weekends where actors present their past films for which they are best known, Business North reported.
In addition, Kelley said they are working on plans to attract customers during the shoulder season by collaborating with industries including accounting and insurance where employees need to continuously complete intense training. That business segment brings in year-round revenue, creating a more sustainable business model and providing year-round jobs, Business North reported.
The company is also in conversations with the Titus family on how they might partner with them or purchase the Telemark Golf Course and Spider Lake Course. The two courses are open and, despite rumors, neither has been sold to HK Hospitality as of press time, Business North reported.
“The Telemark project, if it comes to fruition, would alter the region’s economic climate far beyond the Cable Area,” said Cable Chamber Director James Bolen. “This project would deliver much-needed jobs to our residents and drive revenue into many businesses throughout northwest Wisconsin. With an estimated $25 million direct visitor spending impact, the ripple effect would likely encourage further business development. This project could be the catalyst towards an economic upturn unlike any we’ve seen.”
Bolen calculated the potential direct visitor spending based on data collected by the Department of Tourism through Longwoods International. In general, the average Wisconsin visitor spends $154 per day. Multiplying that by the anticipated occupancy rate of the 250-room hotel, direct visitor spending could reach $25 million annually. Further, the lodge could provide an additional 120 full-time jobs and 80 part-time jobs, Business North reported.
While it is important to note the deal is not done, Kelley said he’s confident enough at this time to go public because he believes in the project. “We wouldn’t have invested this much time and money into the project if we didn’t believe it was going to happen. We operate projects all over and wouldn’t do this one if we didn’t believe it was going to have long-term sustainability,” Kelley said.