Mt. Olympus owners Nick and Eva Laskaris have finalized a deal to buy the Riverwalk Hotel and American World Resort from the Makowski family.
The two accommodations are the Laskarises' sixth and seventh lodging facility acquisitions since October in their own personal effort to revitalize old or financially-distressed properties in the Wisconsin Dells-Lake Delton area. The other purchases - Star Motel, Star Motor Inn, Luna Inn and Suites, 4 Seasons Motel and Raintree Resort - were along Wisconsin Dells Parkway.
"It's the perfect opportunity for the goal of this company and for both parties," Nick said, adding it will be his last purchase for awhile. "They (the Makowskis) were able to concentrate on their restaurant and gas station, while we were able to concentrate on resorts and lodging."
The Laskarises purchase from the Makowskis does not include the BP gas station at the corner of County Highway A and Wisconsin Dells Parkway or Crabby's restaurant, said Adam Makowski, who is also the general manager at Mt. Olympus.
In combination with their other property along Highway A - the original Big Chief site - the Laskarises now own about 30 acres off Highway A, and their total acreage across all properties is close to 300.
"The good thing about American World is it's right across the street (from Mt. Olympus), and it's proved to be a great resort, bringing people to Mt. Olympus in the past," Nick said.
The Makowskis have packaged with Mt. Olympus for the past six summers, and have been friends and neighbors with the Laskarises since 1970. Nick employees two of the Makowski boys: Adam and his brother Rich.
Adam, whose parents Richard and Grace own American World, said there are 93 rooms and 60 campsites at the resort.
Nick said he plans to expand the number of campsites, including more of the four-person tree houses like the 12 to 15 planned on the old Star property.
Adam said the property has been well maintained and will only need new paint, wallpaper and flooring to fit its new theming. It is expected to be ready for occupancy by or before Memorial Day.
The property, located at 400 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, will be renamed Mt. Olympus Zeus' Village and Camp Resort.
As for the Riverwalk Hotel at 1015 River Road, it will have a Greek monastery theme and will be renamed Santorini Village.
It adds another 55 rooms to the Laskarises' growing total, which will be more than 900 including the current and planned campsites.
The purchase includes the property across the street from Riverwalk where the old Blue Bay Motel sat, said Adam, who co-owns the hotel with his dad Richard and brothers Rich and David. That motel was knocked down six years ago, Adam said.
"It's extremely difficult to survive with small properties in the Dells these days due to the competitiveness of larger resorts," Nick said.
"And changing guest expectations," Adam added.
Guests expect to get waterpark or attraction tickets with their hotel stay now, which is what they will get at all of the Laskarises' properties.
In a change to earlier plans, Nick said he no longer plan to use the old Colossal Buffet as the resort's main check-in facility. He said that will be knocked down and turned into a grassy area before the summer season.
Instead, guests will arrive at the waterpark and check-in there. Their name will be looked up on a computer, and they can then enjoy the waterpark until they are allowed to check into their rooms at 4 p.m.
At 4 p.m., they will be given their room keys and a map and directed to the building they are staying in.
By purchasing the off-site hotels, which people have to walk or drive to, Nick said he expects guests to explore other Dells businesses, too.