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April 2014

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Stapleton Realty prepares to reopen in wake of fire

Oconomowoc building destroyed by fire on July 1

City of Oconomowoc - Maureen Stapleton will present plans to the Architectural Commission on Wednesday for the rebuild of her downtown business, Stapleton Realty, which was destroyed by fire July 1.

Stapleton said the plans incorporate some of the architectural features of the more historical buildings on Main Street. She said architecture includes arched windows and something new outdoors for the second-floor apartments. While Stapleton was hesitant to share the renderings before getting city approval, she said she is confident that what she's come up with will be hard to not approve.

City Administrator Diane Gard agreed.

"I have seen the plans, and I think they look really nice. When you look at the facade and (upstairs) decks it's very attractive," Gard said. She added that when you look at what's in the works for expansion of the city's Village Green across from Stapleton's building on Main Street, anyone who rents the second-level apartments will have "some very nice views" of downtown and Fowler Lake.

Stapleton said she didn't yet have a timeline for construction; approvals will have to come through from the state as well. Her initial hope was to have it completed by the time of her annual holiday party.

Stapleton's building was destroyed when a fire started in the rear exterior of her building at 112 N. Main St. The fire consumed the real estate office and apartments above. Of the two tenants in neighboring apartments above, Mary Dollack was able to break through a window and jump to rescue personnel below, but Sharon Phillips was not so fortunate and died as a result of severe smoke inhalation.

Firefighters battled the blaze to prevent the fire from spreading to neighboring buildings, some of which are more than 100 years old. Next door, The Pub had severe smoke and water damage, closing the business. The owners celebrated a partial reopening of the downtown eatery last week after extensive renovations.

And now that Stapleton is moving forward with plans to rebuild, she said she's excited for the changes. "We're excited that The Pub is now open and the fact that the building on the corner (108 N. Main St.) is for sale. The hope is that someone will come and do something fabulous with it," she said.

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