Schweiger/Foremost site to be redeveloped

Posted by on Apr 2, 2018 in News | 0 comments

Schweiger/Foremost site to be redeveloped

FROM THE DAILY JEFFERSON COUNTY UNION: Efforts to redevelop the former Foremost Buildings Inc. property, which once served as Plant III for Schweiger Industries, are continuing to advance. Gorman & Company Inc., Oregon, is looking to develop the existing structure, located on the banks of the Rock River at 134-138 W. Candise St. in Jefferson, as a workforce housing apartment building for approximately 40 one-, two- and three-bedroom loft-style units.

Due to the lower level being located in the floodplain, all units would be on the upper floors at street-grade level. The lower level would be covered parking for residents.

“This has been a two-and-a-half-year odyssey to redevelop the old Foremost Buildings site,” Jefferson City Administrator Tim Freitag said during Tuesday’s Jefferson Common Council meeting. “If we get to where we finish the project, I suspect you’d have to look really hard to find a more impactful project on the community, particularly downtown. Redeveloping the property is an “extremely challenging” undertaking that likely will cost more than $8 million, he noted.

Discussions originally involved the possibility of razing the structure. However, because of the thickness of the concrete, doing so would be incredibly expensive, as would clearing the site afterward. “It’s just tough to make those numbers work in our market, and particularly downtown,” Freitag said. “So, we looked at a third alternative and we thought, ‘Is it possible to find a developer — an experienced one at that — that would look at converting this industrial building (and) repurposing it for a different use?’” They found that developer in Gorman & Company, he said.

According to its website, Gorman & Company Inc. specializes in downtown revitalization; the preservation of affordable housing; workforce housing; and the adaptive reuse of significant historic buildings. “Gorman was able to get the site under control, and then we had to all roll up our sleeves and figure out, ‘OK, how can you finance a project like this?’” Freitag explained. “I would say there’s really two funding prerequisites to having this project work.”

The first is tax credits from the IRS federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, which is administered by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). The second are tax credits from state- and federal historic preservation programs. A tax credit lowers the amount of federal income taxes owed by owners/investors in qualified projects dollar-for-dollar. The LIHTC, which are “highly competitive,” were awarded to the Gorman project in the amount of $548,182 a few weeks ago, according to the city administrator. Read the full article here.

 

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