Multi-million dollar makeover set for Siebkens Resort

Siebkins 2

The Siebkens Resort in Elkhart Lake, where actor Paul Newman and racecar driver Mario Andretti have stayed in years gone by, will undergo a $6 million to $7 million demolition and reconstruction of two of its lodging facilities.

"They've been maturing at a rapid rate and unfortunately, they've gotten to the point where replacing them seems to be a more economical choice than renovating them," said Laurie Stecker, a fourth-generation owner of the resort with her sister, Lisa Sadiq.

The new three-story facilities will have one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums that will be sold in a price range from $230,000 to $475,000, Stecker said.

The resort at 284 S. Lake St., established under its current name in 1916 by Stecker's great grandparents, Herman and Laura Siebken, also is undertaking the project because of a tourism boom from the Chicago area, Stecker said.

"We're just seeing a huge increase in tourism in Elkhart Lake and we need to have a better hotel room for that type of customer," Stecker said. "We do have the customer that still does like the charm of the older building but people expect more now when they travel. They expect amenities, fireplaces, larger TVs and it has become an issue for us."

Lakeview Hotel Building, built in the late 1800s, has 16 rooms and Elm Park Hotel Building, erected in the early 1930s, has 22 rooms, Stecker said. Demolition will begin on Elm Park in mid-September and crews will start to raze Lakeview in mid-October. The construction, which includes a 24-foot-by-30-foot pool, whirlpool and pool house with a bar between the new facilities, are expected to be completed by the end of April 2008 and be open by the first weekend in May, she said.

Workers will use equipment to take apart the buildings but they won't use a wrecking ball or explosives, said Tim Rinn, vice president of development for Selmer Co. of Green Bay, the general contractor.

"We're going to dismantle the buildings and separate the stuff they want to reuse in the new buildings," Rinn said. "Paul Newman stayed in one of the rooms. Are we going to preserve the door that was Paul Newman's? That's all the stuff we've got to decide to do."

Many celebrities, including Walter Payton, Tom and Dick Smothers, Bruce Jenner, Daryl Hall and John Oates stayed at Siebkens over the years, Stecker said.

"Ashley Judd was probably one of the most recent," Stecker said. "She was in Siebkens' bar and the big story was how she was dancing on the tables."

Judd, who stayed at the resort a few years ago, was celebrating the success of her husband, racecar driver Dario Franchitti, who had done well at the Road America racetrack, Stecker said.
Celebrities and other guests will stay in new rooms a year from now.

Lakeview will have 21 condominiums along with 25 underground parking spaces and Elm Park will have nine condos and a fitness center, Stecker said.

The building exteriors will be white with green trim and include verandas, retaining the resort's early 20th Century look, said Erik Jensen, owner of LJM Architects Inc. of Sheboygan, architect for the hotel. The condominiums will have hardwood floors in the kitchens, living rooms and hallways, carpeted bedrooms and tiled bathrooms.

"Furnishings have yet to be determined ... but I think it's going to be kind of a cross between modern and traditional," Jensen said. "It should be very pleasant rooms, very nicely decorated, furnished and comfortable."

Stecker has mixed feelings about the project.

"It's a little bittersweet for my sister and I in that we grew up with these buildings and ran around in them when we were kids and worked here when we were older," Stecker said. "To take them down is sad but what we're doing is going to be so beautiful, it's going to be worth it in the long run."

Siebkens Resort

  • $6 million to $7 million demolition and reconstruction project
  • Lakeview Hotel Building, built in the late 1800s, and Elm Park Hotel Building, erected in the early 1930s, will be razed and rebuilt
  • 30 new condominiums will sell in a price range from $230,000 to $475,000
  • Project includes a pool, whirlpool and pool house with a bar, underground parking and fitness center

Laack, Troy. “Multi-million dollar makeover set for Siebkens Resort.” The Sheboygan Press. June 1, 2007, page A1.