La Crosse, Wisconsin
Architect: The Kubala Washatko Architects Inc.
Owner: The Weber Group
Contractor: C.D. Smith Construction
Constructed in 1898 as a four-story brick building to house a candy company, this important downtown historic landmark, after extensive renovation and restoration, is now a 67-room five-story luxury boutique hotel. Facing a city owned park along a scenic stretch of the Mississippi River, the hotel features an open kitchen restaurant with outdoor sidewalk dining, a main lobby bar and a fifth-floor roof deck lounge. Renovating a 117-year-old candy factory and former furniture store to meet modern hotel standards while complying with historic preservation guidelines to for historic tax credits presented significant challenges. The addition of a fifth-floor, with eight rooms, a bar and patio built onto the roof, had to be set back from the edge to preserve the building’s profile from the street. Extraordinary steps were taken to preserve and reimagine historic architectural elements and incorporate the building’s history in the hotel design. A replica of the original rooftop water tower celebrates the warehouse building’s past and provides a prominent new visual landmark. Great care and attention to detail went into breathing new life into an historic building to create a new hotel with an abundance of charm, whimsy and allure.
Jury Comments: “The details and materials connect the hotel to its history. It transforms existing urban industrial fabric into a vibrant place. The project couldn’t be duplicated anywhere else. The additions, like the new entryway and the rooftop terrace and rooms, are handled in a refined, consistent and contemporary manner appropriate to the history of the building. We want to stay at this hotel!”
Photos: The Charmant Hotel