FOREST CITY — They’re bringing The Lodge back.
“When I saw the place, it’s still a really great building. There is a good history here. I want to make it a success again,” new owner Peter Yang said.
Yang and his wife, Shari, took over The Lodge Hotel and Restaurant in July.
Peter Yang’s family is involved with real estate in China. He met his wife while attending Iowa State University. The pair wanted to invest in Iowa and the Forest City property came up in a search.
“We love the town, too. The people are positive, they want to make their town better. We wanted to work with those people, that is why we wanted to invest here,” Peter Yang said.
Vincent Applegate will be the general manager. Applegate previously managed Riverview Restaurant at The Lodge in 2014.
He came back to Forest City after hearing the Yangs’ vision for The Lodge.
“They wanted to bring it back,” Applegate said.
“Because in the past, it was popular. People loved coming here. Some stopped coming here and we want people to come back,” Yang said.
That will start with a renovation of the hotel’s front lobby and dining area.
Yang said phase one of the renovations include changing the front guest room into a gift shop. A bar and lounge will be added to the restaurant’s dining room.
The restaurant had previously been rented out as Riverview Restaurant. The restaurant will now be part of the main hotel.
Work had already started with the opening of the sun room last week.
“More people will have the view,” Applegate said of the back of the property, which looks out over the Winnebago River and woods.
The restaurant is currently closed during the renovations. It will reopen on Sept. 15. Food will be served downstairs while work continues upstairs on the restaurant, lobby and gift shop. A private dining area will also be added.
Yang anticipates work on phase one will be completed within six to eight weeks.
Phase two won’t start until early next year.
“We want to run the restaurant first and make sure it runs well,” Yang said.
The next phase, he said, will then focus on the renovation of the guest rooms. That will include adding sound proofing and updating the wallpaper, paint and furniture.
The hotel’s family room, located where the pool used to be, will also be updated. The room can then be used for private meetings.
Yang said landscaping around The Lodge property will complete phase two.
He hopes to use as many local businesses to complete the renovation work. Kingland Construction is currently working on the dining room renovations.
“We want to be a part of (the community),” Yang said. The Lodge joined the Forest City Chamber of Commerce this summer.
Forest City, Applegate said, has been very supportive.
“People are excited now that construction has started,” he said.
He hopes that excitement continues throughout the renovation process.
“I’m really looking forward to it growing. There’s no other place in town like it. It’s definitely a place to bring people together,” Applegate said.