New hotel development to offer Mississippi waterfront views

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The Waterfront Hotel has taken quick shape over the past month on Main Street in Prairie du Chien. Just Wednesday, passers-by could see the entry corridor taking shape. It will be three stories with 58 rooms and hopefully be open by late July/early August. Since this sign was erected, some modifications have been made to the design. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

There’s a new hotel development in downtown Prairie du Chien. Brian and Brittany (Sheckler) Nichols are spearheading the project, called the Waterfront Hotel, fittingly because it overlooks the Mississippi River from its location on Main Street. Despite the awful winter the city has had, construction is moving along and hopes are for it to open in late July or early August, pending weather, Brian said.

The 58-room hotel, which will have suites and extended-stay accommodations as well, will be three stories with many glass windows, especially in the lobby and breakfast area, according to Brian. A main attraction of the lodging facility, he said, will be the Backwater Bar, an elevated terrace space that will be partially enclosed, with glass garage doors that can be opened during beautiful weather. This will be open to hotel guests as well as the general public. There will be a food menu offering general appetizers in addition to a specialty that sets them apart in the community. 

“We want it to be another place where people can come enjoy themselves downtown,” he commented. “The reason why we’re doing this is because we really want to try to bring more people to the downtown, initiate growth in the downtown. If we can get more foot traffic, maybe it will spark some opportunity for something else.”

Both Brian and Brittany have business backgrounds, with experience in management.  They secured the property for the hotel, which belonged to Scott and Jill Sheckler, about two years ago. 

“We had the concept of what we wanted to do, and we’ve been working with the city and Driftless Development to determine what they wanted to see,” Brian noted.

They broke ground Dec. 4. 

Just recently, according to Brittany, the couple learned they’ve received a significant Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation grant toward the project. More details will be revealed during a press conference on March 7. 

Currently, progress is being made at the site, as local contractors are working in most weather conditions. 

“The cold weather definitely delayed us, and then recovering from that cold was also difficult,” Brian shared. However, on Monday, a construction crew had installed the majority of the first floor walls and was starting on the floors for the second floor. “The walls were pre-engineered and brought in,” he added. As soon as that second floor base is in place, electrical work can begin on the first floor. 

The two are overjoyed about the project and excited for the public to follow their journey to completion. They are proud of the amenities they plan to offer, including super-fast wifi in the rooms and lobby, a space for meetings or small banquet needs and more, particularly targeted toward returning customers and young professionals.

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