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Downtown La Crosse project gets $500,000 state grant

The former La Crosse Plow Co. building at 525 N. Second St.  

A $500,000 Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. grant will help the owners of the former La Crosse Plow Co. building reopen it to residential and retail use, after more than two decades of standing empty.

The contract was approved by the Finance and Personnel Committee during a special meeting and approved by the Common Council afterward Thursday evening.

The city applied for the grant to help fund the estimated $32.8 million renovation the property at 525 N. Second St. The money will be paid out to the appropriate parties upon completion of the project.

According to city economic development planner Andrea Schnick, the “demolition” the grant will help fund is, in the case of the historic Plow Company building, rehabilitation and redevelopment.

The contracts cites a goal of finishing the project by Dec. 31, 2018, but Schnick said the city recognizes the project could continue into 2019.

Terms of the grant forbid the city from using the funds to cover more than 30 percent of its project cost — meaning La Crosse must come up with at least $1,666,666 in non-WEDC funding.

According to Schnick, the Cleary family — the owners of the property — and the city are working on a tax incremental financing loan agreement with the city.

Estimated costs of the project include about $10.4 million for building improvements, more than $3 million for demolition, and more than $13.7 million in infrastructure work, totaling just more than $27 million. Other estimated costs that were ineligible for the grant include about $5.7 million for permits and contingencies.

Schnick said the city is excited to see the project moving forward, with an anticipated start date this year.

Also Thursday ...

The council approved the city performing traffic-calming measures on Losey Boulevard. Repairs of the boulevard were stressed as high importance at the May 4 Finance and Personnel Committee meeting, to be pushed to the top of the project lists for 2018 and be fully repaired by 2019. Legislation to lower the speed limit on Losey to 25 mph was referred for consideration.

The council approved mayoral appointments to committees and a 90-day referral of the rezoning of 410 Wood St. to heavy industrial to accommodate expansion by Craig’s Towing and Repair.

Committee and council meetings were also set to be begin at 6 p.m., effective July 1.

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(4) comments

kingman10

could this be an example of government catering to the wealthy. Do the Cleary's really need help considering their vast fortune? And another TIF from the city, must be so the Cleary family doesn't risk much of their own money?

ElPresidente

I'm disappointed... Where are the complainers??? How dare they eliminate this eye soar from that area.

realtorick

Tips can be used for infrastructure but prolong for the developer I thought they had to get their own funds

Thinkingoutloud

Well, they are not going to eliminate it, only change it. I think part of the money is supposed to be used for demolition, but they are loosening the rules to allow it to be used for alterations. I just keep asking who pays for all the cleanup of hazardous materials that were dumped during the Machine Products era?

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