By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD — The deal the city of Marshfield had with a Milwaukee firm to renovate the existing City Hall Plaza into apartments has fallen through.
Both City Administrator Steve Barg and Mayor Chris Meyer confirmed that the proposal from Gorman and Company has been taken off the table.
The city had been pursuing a deal with Gorman for the renovation of the former Marshfield Clinic and Figi’s headquarters into what was called workforce housing. Barg said Gorman was unsuccessful in its efforts to obtain historic state tax credits to make the project affordable for the company.
“And it was long believed that the building would qualify, but apparently in dealing with state and federal authorities and looking at the building itself, it appears that’s not going to be the case. When Figi’s bought the building, they made some changes. The city of Marshfield bought it, (and) we did some stuff, so you look back at the building that may be very old, but it doesn’t have much of the same elements and character that it had back then. It’s been modified greatly. So Gorman ran it up the flagpole a couple times, and they’re telling us, ‘We’re not going to qualify,’ and that was a big financial piece of it. There’s a lot of tax credits that come with renovating or restoring historic buildings,” said Barg.
The Marshfield Common Council had voted recently to supply $20,000 to assist Gorman in getting the historic tax credits, but Barg said the money was never spent.
Meyer said City Hall is both structurally and historically significant but not enough to qualify for state historic designation.
“Parts of that building are about 100 years old. It was the first home built by Marshfield Clinic to be their home, so it does have a lot of history in our community. It’s also architecturally significant. Obviously, it’s the only big building like that in Marshfield. It was designed to be very modular and able to adapt with time. It was built to be a very modern building at the time it was built, so there were a lot of different things that went into making this an ideal historic structure,” Meyer said.
Meyer said there is only one floor in the building that is still laid out the way it was originally.
Gorman’s proposal called for 40 apartments while maintaining the retail space on the first floor.
In the meantime, Barg said the city will reach out to two other companies which had submitted proposals to see if they might still be interested in a project with City Hall.
“We may look back to one of those two or both of them. On the other hand, it’s been two years. We could certainly look for another proposal,” said Barg.
Wisconsin Redevelopment of Oshkosh made a $1 million bid to buy city hall and offered to partner with Marshfield’s Community Development Authority to create six apartment units each on the second through sixth floors, and four units on the seventh floor. Madison-based Iconi-Care — the same group that redeveloped the Purdy Building into senior housing — offered to buy City Hall for $1.2 million and develop 36 housing units plus construct a separate four-story assisted living structure with 47 units. Both proposals also maintained the existing retail space and tennis courts. Gorman had offered a purchase price of $500,000.
The city has purchased the current Forward Financial Bank building at 2017 W. Sixth St. for $2.6 million and will move into that facility once Forward’s new four-story structure on North Central Avenue is complete.