Negotiations to purchase Forward Financial bank building could follow
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — At next Tuesday’s common council meeting, the city may take its most significant step to date in moving on from City Hall by selecting a developer to potentially sell the building to.
“If we’re going to do something with City Hall, then yes, we will be selecting a developer more than likely next week Tuesday,” Mayor Chris Meyer said.
Three companies interested in purchasing City Hall and developing it into various forms of housing presented their plans to the Marshfield Common Council during a special meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
The city, which has interest in moving its offices into Forward Financial’s facility at 207 W. Sixth St., would put a contingency in any agreement it makes with a developer that it must find a new building to move into before City Hall could be sold, Meyer said.
At next Tuesday’s meeting, city staff may also be directed to begin negotiations to purchase the Forward Financial Bank building. Meyer said there would also be a contingency on the purchase of Forward Financial’s facility, stating that the city would only buy that building if the developer is able to successfully purchase City Hall with the tax credits it is seeking.
Forward Financial is selling its facility for about $3.2 million and intends to build a new facility east of Burger King in Marshfield.
Gorman & Company Inc., IconiCare LLC, and Wisconsin Redevelopment LLC all had representatives pitch proposals to the common council on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Gorman would like to develop City Hall into “40 affordable workforce housing units,” according to their proposal. Wisconsin Market President for Gorman Ted Matkom said their planned development would generate between $50,000 and $70,000 in property tax revenue.
“Our M.O. is to kind of do what the city wants to do,” Matkom said. “Everybody wants to make money. Everybody wants to be profitable, but our M.O. is to come in and see how we can fit that profit mode into what the city wants to do, so the city’s our client. The community’s our client.”
“I think your downtown needs a shot in the arm in terms of people downtown. You need people living downtown,” Matkom added.
IconiCare wishes to create a “high quality senior housing development.”
Virginia Gully, a consultant on IconiCare’s development team, said, “We believe there is a high demand for senior housing in downtown Marshfield. We recognize that demand, and we want to give our seniors a great place to live after they retire.”
The development could bring in $190,000 annually in property tax revenue for the city.
Wisconsin Redevelopment LLC plans to leave the commercial space inside of City Hall largely untouched, with floors two-seven being remodeled into apartments. The tennis court area could be remodeled into townhomes or left alone with townhomes constructed “on the parking lot along Seventh Street or Chestnut.”
Todd Hutchison, one of two principal members of Wisconsin Redevelopment LLC, said it would be his company’s preference to build the townhomes as additions rather than putting them in place of the tennis court area.
Hutchison said that the planned development would generate between $40,000 and $47,000 in property tax revenue for the city.
Meyer cautioned that the decision is not as simple as picking the project which offers the highest return in property taxes, adding that, for instance, though InconiCare estimates its development would generate the most in annual property tax revenue of the three proposals, the company is also asking the city for $1.9 million in funding assistance.
“It is very tough to compare apples to apples with these,” Meyer said, adding that the city’s financial planner, Public Financial Management Inc., would speak with the council at next week’s meeting about each proposal.
Meyer said it was important to put City Hall back on the tax roll in the event that city offices move to the Forward Financial facility, and, “In almost every case, (City Hall) will probably generate more tax revenue than Forward Financial currently does because it’s a bigger building. It’s worth more, especially once it’s renovated.”
Hub City Times went into deeper detail about each of the three proposals in an earlier story, which is available by clicking here hubcitytimes.com/news/local/city-hall-could-become-housing.