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BP Land Sale Likely as Downtown Redevelopment Plan Takes Shape

A $1 offer from the county makes the property at the corner of Janesville and Lannon too good to pass up, as financing district downtown could expand.

The expansion of the tax incremental financing (TIF) district along Janesville Road could mean a shot in the arm as Janesville Road reconstruction nears the midway point.

The Community Development Authority, buoyed by the OK from the Common Council to pursue the set a public hearing date for Nov. 22 to get further input on the matter. In addition, the CDA also looking to purchase a prime corner of land within the proposed new boundaries to tap into the TIF funds in order to improve the property for resale.

Properties like Muskego Beer and Liquor, Delta Family Restaurant, and possibly the Westwood Centre Mall would be included on the western end of the TIF district. Businesses from the corner of Bay Lane Drive and Janesville toward the library could be added on the eastern side.

Community Development Director Jeff Muenkel said the remaining $375,000 in funds from the district could be used to help businesses garner low-interest loans for renovations. In general, CDA member say businesses that were not in the district previously might now be spurred on to make improvements to their facades.

What is a TIF District?

Tax incremental financing districts are created to spur development. Once they are established, a base equalized assessed value is established. As properties are improved, the values — and therefore the tax revenue — also incrementally rise, and those increments are reinvested into the district. While TIF funds can't be used for "brick and mortar" improvements to the businesses, they can be applied to other infrastructure improvements and subsidies.

In addition, Muenkel said the BP station parcel was still available to the city for $1. The county owns the property, which is at the southwest corner of Janesville and Lannon. The only hitch is that the soil has residual contamination, but an estimate from Sigma Environmental for $3,800 would provide an assessment of the costs to clean up the site. Further, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources grants would be available to pay up to 78 percent of the cleanup costs, but are only available if the city owns the property.

Costs for initial review and assessment of the land, as well as clean p, could be paid for out of the TIF funds, Muenkel explained.

"Having the BP parcel cleaned up makes this parcel much more marketable to a would-be developer," he said. "Dirty sites often don’t finance well and may stay on the market for a considerable amount of time compared to a clean site. This way we can control the end use of the site and offer the site to the open market at a competitive value that will maximize our return on the TIF District."

The Common Council could receive the recommendation for a purchase as early as their Oct. 23 meeting.

Rick Petfalski October 18, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Do we really need to TIF almost all new development? I am hesitant of the constant use of TIF financing to promote development on Muskego. With the improvement of Janesville road, development should happen at it's own natural pace. Should we as citizens really give up the potential property tax relief for the next 7 to 20 years so we can speed up development which likely would happen without the governments involvement? After all what good is commercial development if the tax payers are not able to benefit from the property tax relief of that development?
Sheepshead October 18, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Well Said. If there's money to made, there is no need for handouts.
Laura Mishefske October 18, 2012 at 05:26 PM
still waiting for a joann fabrics store. :)
Muskego Mike October 18, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I'd give up the tree farm in the center of our city for a joann fabrics.
Denise Konkol (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 07:40 PM
None of the businesses we mentioned are new. In fact, Muskego Beer & Liquor has been around for more than 40 years. Not sure how that was read into the story.
Denise Konkol (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Again, businesses mentioned are already existing.
Gregory Kluck October 18, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I would like to see an independent shop go in there. A hobby shop would make me happy, but anything that is not offered nearby would be nice. Another chain restaurant we do NOT need...or a bank! LOL

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