GREEN BAY- After more than a year and a half of continuous construction, the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center Green Bay has had a full $23 million face-lift.
The lobby, corridors, guest rooms, exterior and conference rooms were all revamped with a more modern look. The hotel was built in 1986. It hasn’t had a serious update in seven years, and that renovation was not as extensive. Radisson’s manager, Steve Ninham, said that the updates to the hotel have been a long time coming.
“We had plans for the renovation put in the works several years back to keep up with the market,” said Ninham, adding that Radisson released its new room design at that time. “We also wanted to do something new and exciting on the food and beverage end.”
One of the most noticable changes for longtime guests is the lobby, which used to have a floor-to-ceiling fireplace. Now the space is completely open, allowing guests to see from the front door all the way to the newly rebranded restaurant: Duck Creek Kitchen & Bar.
The restaurant has three major themes: regional, sustainable and indigenous. The hotel, 2040 Airport Drive, is owned by the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and has been designed to share and celebrate their culture with guests.
Duck Creek features indigenous-inspired food like the “Three Sisters” plate of butternut squash, corn, beans, scallions and peppers, which represents the three sisters the Oneida people plant (corn, beans and squash). Most of their produce and meat is sourced locally; most of it’s grown and raised by Oneida farmers.
STREETWISE: A Sunny Boutique, now open on Military Avenue, puts owner in mom’s shoes as entrepreneur | Streetwise
STREETWISE: Trump stores: Entrepreneurs turn politics to profit at these pop up stores | Streetwise
In addition to the new restaurant, they have also opened Sky World Coffee and Custard. Similar to Duck Creek, the coffee and custard shop is also inspired by Oneida heritage, specifically their creation story. To pay further tribute, an 8-foot sculpture of Sky Woman will be placed in the lobby next to Sky World.
Despite all of these updates, Ninham said guest prices are remaining low to avoid scaring away customers with a high bill during the pandemic.
The Radisson was not spared the stress of COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, the hotel had 243 employees, but due to low occupancy its staff dropped to just eight people. In March they saw their occupancy drop to between 10% and 15%. Generally around this time of year, they see 100% occupancy for home Packers games and 70% to 80% occupancy on weekends due to leisure travel.
“The big effect was the loss of the home Packers games” said Ninham.
Currently, the Radisson is fluctuating between 40% and 70% occupancy. Ninham said they see higher numbers on the weekends, but once Monday comes around, it slows right back down. He added that they have 115 employees back on their payroll.
However, with the new spike in COVID-19 cases, they are holding off on bringing back any more employees. Ninham did mention a silver lining to the drop in occupancy: It meant that there were few customers to disturb while the remodel was taking place.
Ninham said that they are complying with all safety measures put forth by the state and by the Oneida Nation. He added that some of the costs, like installing plexiglass, was fnhexpensive; the cost of the plexiglass installed in Duck Creek alone was $8,000.
Duck Creek Restaurant & Bar opened to the public on Oct. 26. Ninham said there was a good turnout, but they are making sure to keep the restaurant to 25% capacity. He also mentioned that now is a good time for people to try out the new changes at the hotel, since the prices are low.
“It’s been a tough and challenging time, and I’ve got the right team to get through this. We will survive and get through this and see what the new normal is going to be like,” said Ninham.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: The Radisson Hotel’s $23 million renovation is complete. Here’s what’s different. | Streetwise