Audubon Inn in Mayville up for sale

September 11, 2018

MAYVILLE—A historic downtown hotel could be yours for $1.25 million.

The Audubon Inn, at 45 N. Main St. in Mayville, is up for sale. Keith Hill, the owner of the hotel for the past few years, said the intention is to raise funds to refresh the guest rooms, which have not seen major renovations in about 30 years.

“Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to do that on our own,” Hill said.

Under the management of Keith and his wife Amanda, the hotel’s lobby, bar and dining room have seen major overhauls. Now attached is the New Orleans-inspired NOLA North Grille. Keith said that, in a perfect world, they would find someone who would be willing to partner with them after the sale so they can continue to have a place at the Audubon Inn.

“We’d love to remain involved and complete what we started here,” he said. However, he said a buyer might find it in their interest to take over completely.

“We understand that’s a possible outcome,” Hill said. “We want to do what’s best for the property.”

Hill said he hopes to buy on the positive momentum of the past few years and it remains to be seen what will happen next.

“We’re hoping that we can see this thing through,” he said. “We’re really just trying to see what transpires and make the best decision beyond that depending on what happens.”

Hill said that he has been involved in the hospitality industry for about 20 years and that it’s like the military, which can mean always moving around from state to state. He is a full-time staff member with Blue Zones Dodge County.

Keith and Amanda are both from the Midwest and their children are in the local schools.

“We’ve enjoyed living here and if there’s an opportunity to continue, we’d be really grateful and appreciate that,” Hill said, hoping to see the hotel flourish and leave a legacy.

The limited liability corporation behind the hotel received a $350,000 loan, matched by private investment, in 2015 from the Dodge County Revolving Loan Fund that was used for remodeling and to create local jobs.

The money for the fund trickled down from the federal government to the state and then to the county as a grant, which uses interest on the loan to grow the fund. The money “revolves” from business to business and grows with interest. Those who receive the funds pay in installments as with any other loan.

“The plan is that once it sells, the loan would then be paid off,” said Nate Olson, planning and economic development administrator for the county. “It’s no different than any other loans we have out there right now.”

The county loan program itself is frozen as the county anticipates major changes from the Wisconsin Department of Administration and the US Department of House and Urban Development in the way it operates. The county fund was established in 1992 with a $315,000 grant and has grown to over $1.5 million.

The Audubon Inn opened in 1896 as the Beaumont Hotel and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, with its brick, elaborate facade and corner turret rising above the street. The hotel was renamed in the 1980s after John James Audubon, a 19th-century scientist known for detailed paintings of birds in their national habitat.

It was opened by Jacob and Anna Mueller, editors of a German-language newspaper that lives on as the Dodge County Pionier.

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