Mobil oil Site

An aerial view looking east toward Festival Foods shows the former Mobil Oil site on La Crosse's waterfront, with the Black River in the foreground. It's part of the last major undeveloped parcel of land in the cit. 

The state has approved a $750,000 loan to help La Crosse purchase land on Copeland Avenue for an access road into the prospective Riverside North development site.

The State Trust money was a more cost-effective option than other forms of borrowing, said Kelli Branson, city finance and purchasing director. The amount was considered too small to draw many bids if bonds were sold.

The loan can be repaid over 15 years at a 3.75 percent interest rate, Branson said. While that is higher than what the city received for bonding earlier this year, it does not contain any extra administrative fees, she said.

“In the long run, it probably is a lot closer” to what the city would have paid had it gone to bonding, Branson said.

The 53,081-square-foot parcel now is owned by Wettstein’s, which uses it as a parking area for its vehicles, said Amy Peterson, interim city planner. It is directly across from the main entry to Three Rivers Plaza shopping, office and condominium complex and already has a traffic light.

The city council Thursday is expected to authorize spending up to $6,500 for an updated appraisal of the property’s value. The $750,000 would have covered the last appraised price in 2010, Peterson said.

The city and its Redevelopment Authority have invested decades of planning and work assembling the 65-acre Riverside North site, which includes the 12-acre former Patros Steel site, 26-acre Mobil Oil tank farm, 8.3-acre Western Wisconsin Ready-Mix plant and 15 acres of city-owned wetlands.

It is one of the last major undeveloped areas available in La Crosse.

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