City Hall could become housing
City leaders are mulling proposals from three developers with interest in the building
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The city of Marshfield has received proposals from three developers interested in purchasing City Hall. The Marshfield Common Council approved seeking proposals in October, and the city has expressed interest in moving into Forward Financial Bank’s facility on the corner of Sixth Street and Chestnut Avenue, approving a study of that building earlier this month. That Forward Financial facility is on the market for about $3.2 million.
The move is being considered in part because City Hall requires significant maintenance and upgrades costing potentially $2.5 million over the next decade. It also is a much larger building than is required for city offices. Mayor Chris Meyer has said moving to a new facility is only a consideration if it represents savings for taxpayers.
All three developers will present their proposals to the common council on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Director of Planning and Economic Development Jason Angell said prior to that meeting, city staff needs to dig into each proposal to determine the best course of potential action.
“There’s a lot of things that have to be considered before the city can determine which proposal represents the best opportunity for the community. None of the proposals are put together the same, so we need to figure out all of the details to try and get as close to an ‘apples to apples’ comparison. Over the course of the next couple weeks, staff, and the city council (will) be reviewing each proposal and asking questions of the developers to make sure they fully understand the proposals,” Angell said.
The conversion of City Hall to housing would be consistent with the city’s downtown master plan and the needs expressed in a 2014 study of the city’s housing options.
That study showed an “inadequate supply” of short-term rental housing, pet-friendly rental housing, and condominiums and townhouses. That study also pointed to a lack of “acceptable rental units at the lower end of the market” and not enough units “at the high end of the rental market.” The city’s downtown master plan sets forth a goal to “establish the downtown and adjacent neighborhoods as a preferred location for housing, offering … high quality rental and owner-occupied units in new and historic buildings, including opportunities for condominium and townhouse development on redevelopment sites.”
Wisconsin Redevelopment LLC proposes condos
Wisconsin Redevelopment LLC is a real estate development company that was established in 2002. Their proposal acknowledges a multitude of factors that would have to be settled for a deal to work: The city needs to purchase Forward Financial’s facility and renovate it, Forward Financial needs to construct and move into its planned new facility east of Burger King in Marshfield, and Wisconsin Redevelopment LLC would have to apply for funding sources.
The proposal from Wisconsin Redevelopment LLC is to separate City Hall into two “condominium units,” one being commercial in nature and the other residential.
The proposal said, “The first floor and the two-story original building will remain as retail/offices in nature and would remain largely unchanged, allowing the existing tenants on the first floor to remain with just cosmetic updating to their portions of the building along with improvements to the mechanical and electrical systems.
“The second through sixth floors would be remodeled into six apartments per floor with the top (seventh) floor being just four apartments. All of the two-bedroom units on the top two floors would be market rate units, and floors two through five would be affordable units. The units on floors two through six would be a combination of one- and two-bedroom units at an average of 800 square feet per unit.”
The portion of City Hall that houses the tennis courts “would be remodeled into six, three-bedroom townhomes with attached parking and private entrances off of Seventh Street,” the proposal said. Another consideration is building townhomes on the parking lot along Seventh Street or Chestnut Avenue and leaving the tennis courts intact.
The project is estimated at a total cost of $10.5 million, and Wisconsin Redevelopment LLC would pay $1 million to acquire City Hall.
Gorman & Company Inc. proposes workforce housing
In its proposal Gorman describes itself as a “Wisconsin-based development company that develops and manages multifamily properties in six states.” The company’s corporate headquarters are in Oregon, Wis.
Gorman offered $500,000 for City Hall in its proposal and intended to turn City Hall into “40 affordable, workforce housing units.” The proposal stated that there is sufficient parking on-site to accommodate the units. Gorman put the total development cost of the project at just over $8 million.
The proposal appeared to indicate that the retail spaces would remain, saying in part that the “purchase price is offered with the intent that the city of Marshfield retains its current income from the retail spaces.”
IconiCare LLC proposes senior housing
IconiCare LLC is a Madison-based company that proposed developing “a high quality senior living community” that would maintain the tennis and racquetball courts inside of City Hall. The proposal would also “have a portion of the site available for public parking.”
IconiCare would pay $1.2 million to acquire City Hall and the on-site parking.
The proposal called for “kitchen, dining, and other common spaces on the first floor and 36 independent/congregate senior apartments on the second through seventh floors of the tower.” The plan said that it would keep “as much of the existing retail space on the first floor as possible.”
On floors two through seven, on each floor there would be a mix of three, one-bedroom units; one, one-bedroom unit with a den; one, two-bedroom unit; and one efficiency unit.
The plan would add “a four-story addition with 47 units of assisted living … to the west of the tower building.” Those assisted living units would be made up of 35 one-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom units.
The project budget is about $13.6 million.