A SALE OF the resort on the south side of Illinois Avenue might help Fiore Companies market and eventually sell property to the north.   											        Tim Lyke photo
A SALE OF the resort on the south side of Illinois Avenue might help Fiore Companies market and eventually sell property to the north. Tim Lyke photo

     If we had a nickel for every time someone has said, “We don’t want Green Lake to become another Wisconsin Dells,” we’d have enough money to buy the Heidel House.

     Fact is, geography, history and real estate conditions have conspired to assure that Green Lake never will become the land of go-carts, Ducks, Ripley’s Museum and Paul Bunyan pancakes.

     Lake Delton can have its tacky and its taffy.

     Green Lake will continue to shine with its fishing, golf, boating, live music, can-do community spirit, fine restaurants, quaint downtown and other, more organic attractions that don’t require neon, glitz and coupons to draw visitors.

     ...others are succeeding without the come-ons of Dells schlock: Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center in Sheboygan, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva and the American Club in Kohler, to name a few.

     That said, Green Lake ignores at its peril the allure of its neighbor 55 miles to the southwest. Families enjoy indoor water parks, particularly in February. ...

     Fiore Companies, which by the way has been a most generous community partner since it bought the Heidel House in 1985, has what Mayor Jon McConnell has characterized as a “very solid and qualified buyer” for the resort portion of its Green Lake holdings, that may have once been available for about $8.5 million.

     But that figure excludes about 38 acres of property Fiore (in the legal name of “South Street Partners”) owns north of Illinois Avenue, including Evensong Spa and land abutting Evensong Way, Stonehaven Drive, Triullium Circle and Fiddlehead Court.

     Fiore now wants to unload its entire real-estate holdings for $14.5 million.

     That may be $6 million and 38 acres more than the bird-in-the-hand buyer wants; that non-developer has no need to buy the land north of Illinois Avenue to renovate, on its south side, an existing hotel and replace other, outdated buildings with condominiums.

     ... If Fiore sells the lakeside resort, it can shed its carrying costs, reduce its tax liability and be in a better position to sell acreage across the street that then may be more marketable for a compatible use — additional condominiums, family-friendly restaurant, homes with waterfront access or ... a water park, perhaps?

     A visionary developer can leverage the resort property south of Illinois Avenue to the benefit of both parties.

     But someone’s got to make the first move.  

     That someone is Fiore Companies. It should sell the resort property to the prospective buyer now so the second piece of the puzzle, which will increase in value, can be developed for the benefit of all.  
                                   — Tim Lyke

To read the entire editorial, see the July 18, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.