The Bright Side
The iconic historic Riviera has some big plans taking shape.
The Lake Geneva Riviera Restoration Ad Hoc Committee met last week and discussed the projects that are starting to be implemented. The first-floor renovations have been approved by the city council, which will include changes in maximizing space. All renovations have been approved by SHPO (State Historic Preservation Officers), and the Historic Preservation Commission behind SHPO will be mounting a historic plaque on the Riviera structure.
The current occupants of the Riviera have leases that are due to expire on November 1, 2020, and the city will not be renewing their leases at this time. With the planned changes to the building, there will not be enough spaces to accommodate the current tenants. Decisions will need to be made as to what owners and which businesses will come back. The committee also discussed the possibility of having a list to regulate what kind of businesses come back. The renovations need to get underway but a few things need to happen first.
Tenants will have until November 15, 2020, to remove all equipment and belongings so contractors can be selected to do the work and get started. MSI Engineering will be holding an open house for contractors on November 16, 2020. The open house will give contractors the opportunity to walk through and bid the jobs. The work is planned to begin this fall and, with that kind of constraint financial decisions have to be made soon. The committee brainstormed different options. The city plans on borrowing this year, and the Riviera renovations could possibly be included in the amount they eventually decide upon. The probable room tax rate increase, if it takes place, will help fund the project along with the ballroom non-resident rental rate increases for 2022.
Charlene Klein, the city’s most excellent mayor, has done a lot of research regarding grants that very well may help with keeping the costs down. Mayor Klein’s passion for the Riviera was clearly evident as she shared some history on the Riviera building, including the annual opening celebration every spring at the Riviera in years past, and the possibility of resurrecting the celebration in the future. The Riviera structure was unheated back in those days so the coming of spring allowed everyone to re-occupy the space, and hence the party atmosphere. Lake Geneva needs that party atmosphere back.
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