EAU CLAIRE Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Plans are announced for a new hotel to be built on Menomonie Street in Eau Claire. The Pablo Group unveiled its proposal for a Spring-Hill Suites by Marriott near what will become the Sonnentag center.

“It’s an opportunity for change.” That’s how the city of Eau Claire’s economic development director, Aaron white, feels about Wednesday’s announcement of a 128-room hotel and restaurant being built near the county materials complex. Which will be by the new Sonnentag Center.

“A big project anchor like Sonnentag and then having the first commercial business that follows it in; being the hotel and the restaurant, helps encourage additional investment and development in that area,” said White.

He says that area, right on the banks of the Chippewa River, has long been industrial. However, once completed, these projects, and the traffic a 5-thousand seat arena brings, will lead to more potential restaurants, bars, hotels, or other commercial developments.

“It becomes a little more inviting to retail and restaurants and amenities type of businesses that will provide services to the folks that will be coming to the community to attend events at the Sonnentag,” said White.

City Council President Terry Weld agrees these projects are just the first steps for the area.

“That will only continue to add to the attraction and bring more people to Eau Claire, providing jobs, providing economic benefits,” said Weld.

“Visitors coming in for events, you’re looking at multiple stays so they’re contributing to hotel stays, which increases our even tax. Supports additional jobs and job growth,” said White.

But most importantly, White says Pablo Foundation is breaking one of the hardest barriers to redeveloping an area; being the first private group to invest.

“Development draws development. It’s hard to find the person to come in and build but once that first project comes in and builds, everybody starts saying ‘yeah, there’s some real potential there,’ and you’ll see additional interest pop up and it will tend to grow, sometimes very rapidly,” said White. The hotel and restaurant will be owned by the Pablo Foundation. Both the hotel and Sonnentag Center are expected to be completed by 2024.