From left Gary Bretschneider Pat Wojcik, Alexcia Boggs, Dennis Johnson, Heather Rees, Candice Alder, and Alexandra Cleveland.
Ho-Chunk Capital has officially acquired the Kensington in downtown Norfolk as of August 4, 2023. In November, the Norfolk Housing Agency board approved an offer from Ho-Chunk Capital to purchase the Kensington. The more than $14 million redevelopment project will convert the historic downtown building into a boutique hotel.
“This begins a new chapter in the life of the Kensington. We’re excited to watch its evolution and eventual return to a hub of activity and hospitality in the heart of downtown Norfolk. We appreciate Ho-Chunk Capital’s investment in Norfolk’s growth and confidence in our future,” said Mayor Josh Moenning.
Ho-Chunk Capital – a division of Ho-Chunk, Inc. – has emerged as the region’s leading real estate developer in recent years, including major investments in downtown Sioux City, Iowa and the Flatwater Crossing master-planned community in South Sioux City, Nebraska.
“We look forward to preserving and revitalizing this historic Norfolk building,” said Dennis Johnson, CEO of Ho-Chunk Capital. “This purchase symbolizes Ho-Chunk Capital’s growing investment in both Norfolk and Nebraska. We are honored to work with the Norfolk Housing Agency on this project.”
Mayor Josh Moening, City staff, and Norfolk Housing Agency Board Members with Ho-Chunk Capital staff.
Ho-Chunk Capital’s real estate investments improve local communities and help generate long-term revenue for Ho-Chunk, Inc.’s mission in service of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.
“The Norfolk Housing Agency has owned the Kensington for 25 years and we have done what we could to maintain and improve the building,” said Gary Bretschneider, Executive Director of the Norfolk Housing Agency. “The Kensington has been home to many citizens of Norfolk and has provided affordable commercial rental space for numerous startup businesses in the downtown. The Norfolk Housing Agency was fortunate to experience the re-birth of downtown Norfolk and were blessed to be a part of this community. It is now time for the Kensington to be handed off to Ho-Chunk Capital and allow their team to design, brand and develop a boutique hotel that will enhance the cornerstone intersection at 4th Street and Norfolk Avenue,” Bretschneider added.
The Norfolk Housing Agency’s Mission is to assist low-income families and we are exploring options to invest the proceeds of this sale into a low-income housing project in Norfolk.
In the 1920s, the Kensington was designed to be an eight-story hotel. After numerous delays, setbacks and bankruptcy, the building was scaled back to a five-story, 150 room hotel con structed of reinforced concrete with concrete floors and roof and brick and stone exterior. The Kensington is also on the National Historic Registry. The Housing Agency has owned the Kensington since 1998.