By Dave Fidlin


The former Sentry site along a major thoroughfare in Whitewater continues to go through a metamorphosis nearly two years after the venerable grocery store closed its doors.

The University of Wisconsin Foundation early this year purchased the Sentry building, 1260 W. Main St., to accommodate an off-campus outreach and community engagement center for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

This fall, additional plans have surfaced, calling for a hotel absorbing parking lot space in front of the former grocery store. Based on preliminary plans, a 70-room hotel under the Fairfield Inn by Marriott nameplate has been eyed for the parcel.

The Plan and Architectural Review Commission combed through the preliminary details at its October meeting and gave conceptual approval for an agreement that helps pave the way for the new development.

City Manager Cameron Clapper discussed the plans during his regular report to the Common Council at a meeting Oct. 17.

The hotel plans, Clapper said, are contingent on a number of pieces coming together, including an amenable plan between the private developer and the city’s engineering staff.

Based on dialogue at the commission meeting, however, the project plans continue to progress.

“This is moving forward,” Clapper said. “The rest of the work, I believe at this point, is really among staff and for the developer securing other financing.”

He added, “Look for, in the next few months, something happening in the parking lot.”

The Fairfield Inn by Marriott proposal is the outgrowth of discussions last year between the city and consulting firm United Development Solutions LLC.

At the time, representatives with United Development Solutions proposed a mixed-use public-private development, calling for a hotel, medical clinic and an expanded footprint for the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library.

Those talks, however, did not coalesce in their original form.




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