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Florida firm plans to buy, redevelop former Shopko store in Onalaska

From the What you were reading: Top 3 local stories online in first week of August series
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Former Shopko in Onalaska

A Florida developer plans to acquire the vacant Shopko building on Hwy. 16 in Onalaska.

ONALASKA — A Florida developer plans to acquire, remodel and add on to the former Shopko department store at 9366 State Road 16 in Onalaska — creating spaces for five retail stores, including three in the existing building.

Cory Presnick, a principal with Miami-based CORTA Development, told the Tribune he isn’t ready to announce names of retailers that might lease space. But he said he anticipates store openings in 2023. The former Shopko property is under contract to be purchased by CORTA by the end of this year, he said.

The building has been vacant since 2019, when Shopko filed for bankruptcy and closed all of its remaining stores.

The City of Onalaska Plan Commission will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 in the city council chambers on an application from CORTA and the building’s current owner, Paradise Wisconsin Properties, LLC, for a Planned Commercial Industrial District amendment for the project.

CORTA also has been redeveloping former Shopko buildings in the Wisconsin cities of West Bend, Fond du Lac and Sheboygan. “Fond du Lac is complete, and Sheboygan and West Bend are under construction,” Presnick said. CORTA has undertaken similar projects in other states, though none of those are in former Shopko buildings, he said.

Besides the Onalaska building, there are two vacant former Shopko stores in La Crosse — one in Bridgeview Plaza on the city’s North Side, and the other on Mormon Coulee Road on the city’s South Side.

“If there is retail or other commercial demand for these properties, we certainly would have an interest in pursuing,” Presnick said, when asked whether CORTA might be interested in acquiring and redeveloping the two closed La Crosse Shopko stores.

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