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RACINE, WI — The old Zahn’s Department Store building has sat vacant on Racine’s Monument Square since 1981 – a total of 38 years. A new proposal brought forward by a developer plans to change that, effectively doubling Monument Square’s largest property and transforming it into an 80-room boutique hotel.

Racine Mayor Cory Mason was joined by Alderman Jeff Coe and Christopher Adam of Dominion Properties Wednesday morning, Dec. 4 in City Hall to announce the plans.

The project, located at 500 Main Street, will include the old Zahn’s department store property and the construction of a new, attached structure within the vacant lot directly to the south of the Zahn’s building.

The project proposes more than $29 million in total public and private investment in completely rehabbing and expanding the former Zahn’s building into a destination, 79,900-square-foot, boutique hotel which will contain 80 lodging rooms; a roof-top bar and observation plaza; a sidewalk and indoor café/restaurant; a movie theater-style screening room; exercise facility and sauna; and a banquet facility with event rooms capable of holding up to 180 people.

Parking for the facility, which will be in large part valet, will be accommodated through the City leasing all of the underground spaces, along with 8 of the surface spaces, available at 441 Lake Avenue; all of the 11 spaces available at 512 Wisconsin Avenue; and 60 of the spaces within the McMynn ramp at 110 Seventh Street.

Plans call for the removal of angle-parking along Monument Square in front of the new hotel to allow for sidewalk dining and patron drop-off. Under plans announced Wednesday, the city would provide long-term leases of parking facilities at $3 per day per space for 441 Lake and the McMynn Ramp among other lease plans.”I am proud to say that not only will this hotel be state of the art and one of a kind for the region, but the project and the developer share the same values as the City of Racine,” said Mayor Cory Mason. “This hotel will be built with the goal of being environmentally sustainable and at least LEED gold certified, it will incorporate SMART technologies to give patrons a 21 st century experience, and it focuses intentionally on hiring local residents for both the construction jobs and permanent jobs that the project will create.”Developer plans call for the following sustainable features:

  • Geothermal wells to heat and cool the lower lever, first floor and rooftop/fifth floor.
  • Efficient variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heating and cooling system on the guest room floors.
  • Use of electricity generated from solar panels and wind turbines located on the roof of the hotel.
  • Use and supply of environmentally friendly cleaning products and toiletries.
  • Carefully selected little-or-no volatile organic compounds emitting and sustainable finish materials throughout the hotel.
  • Utilization of smart sensors and controls to reduce energy use and provide for a more comfortable guest experience.
  • Extensive green roof.
  • State-of-the-art domestic water heating system.
  • Battery power backup system in lieu of traditional gas-burning generator.

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