Garden Hotel

The Garden Hotel and Conference Center closed abruptly in March and the city of South Beloit is preparing to take legal action against the owners of the property.

SOUTH BELOIT—Mayor Ted Rehl said the city is listening to residents and won’t immediately place a fence around the shuttered Garden Hotel, as the city’s legal effort against the owners continues.

On Jan. 21, the South Beloit City Council approved spending approximately $22,000 on fencing around the hotel property, located at 200 Dearborn Ave., but Rehl said the city will pursue other options after residents voiced concern about the plan.

“They were concerned about having the fence there and the optics it would create, and perhaps there were other steps,” Rehl said.

The city will implement a three-part security plan for the hotel that’s been closed since March 2019. Rehl declined to comment on the specifics of the plan, but said the fence was “now a last resort.”

The hotel had seen multiple break-ins since December, according to city code enforcement staff. Some vandalism and damage has been reported to the building’s interior.

“It was really a chance for us to step back and review our approach,” Rehl said of the changes.

Meanwhile, city attorney Aaron Szeto told the Beloit Daily News on Tuesday that the city is prepared to place multiple liens on the property after a deadline for hotel owner New Chapter Group officials to pay associated fines passed this week.

Szeto said the city is partnering with attorney Shawn C. Fulbright of Barrick, Switzer, Long, Balsley and Van Evera as Fulbright prepares foreclosure-related documents for the property.

Foreclosure documents and a supporting complaint could be filed in Winnebago County Circuit Court in the coming weeks, Szeto said, with Fulbright to serve as the point person for issues related to the foreclosure process.

The owners owe $45,420 in back taxes including penalties. The hotel was managed by China-based Ariva Hospitality before abruptly closing.