End in sight for renovation of historic Janesville hotel delayed due to supply chain issues

JANESVILLE, Wis. – If you saw the inside of an old hotel in Janesville 18 months ago, you might have thought demolition was the best option. To put it simply: he was incredibly deteriorated.

Since then, the owner of the building has endeavored to restore it.

“It’s the neatest old building in Janesville,” said owner Jim Grafft. “This is probably the most significant building in downtown Janesville as far as its notoriety goes.”

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According to the Rock County Historical Society, on August 23, 1929, the Janesville Gazette announced that its contest to name the city’s new hotel resulted in the name “Monterey.” The Art Deco Hotel opened on Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1930, on the southeast corner of High and West Milwaukee streets.

Part of the building was built in 1880 and served as the Grand Hotel. In 1930, the renovation was completed. It was designed by architect Paul Frederick Olsen of the Frank Perry firm of Chicago.

In 1960, John and Jacqueline Kennedy stayed here while on a presidential campaign trip. It is currently empty.

“It’s always had interest from across the city and across the county,” Grafft said.

Since the 1990s, the hotel had been abandoned. In 2020, the City of Janesville entered into a tax increment funding agreement with Grafft which solidified plans to move forward with the restoration of the building.

The last phase of the building’s life will be 51 luxury apartments.

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Keith Swetlik, Cardinal Capital Management’s construction manager, said work to complete the apartments was to completely redo the interior of the structure. However, some elements of the original hotel remained during the renovation.

“The exterior of the building and the existing structure of the building remained intact as originally constructed,” Swetlik said.

The $9 million project was supposed to be completed in December 2022, but industry-wide supply chain issues have delayed them.

“We have items that we’ve ordered for over a year that have been on order for over a year and are needed to complete construction courses that we don’t have on hand,” Swetlik said.

With construction now heading into the final months of renovations, the project is expected to be completed in April.

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