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Greenfield adds to Loomis Crossing redevelopment prospects

City acquires dilapidated commercial building and vacant house

Feb. 25, 2014

Greenfield — With the city's recent acquisition of a dilapidated former business and home, another piece has been added to the Loomis Crossing redevelopment puzzle.

For years, Greenfield officials have had their eye on redeveloping the a triangular area enclosed by Loomis Road on the north, Interstate 894 on the south and a residential area starting at 38th Street on the east. The city is slowly assembling enough properties to spur major redevelopment.

The former home of Cycle Empire, 4001 W. Loomis Road, and the vacant house next door are at the northern end of the triangle. The plan is to raze both so the site is ready for potential development, said Chuck Erickson, director of economic development and planning.

But of even more value to the city is getting rid of the potential health hazard the boarded-up commercial building poses, Erickson said. The city already had issues a raze order before ownership went back to the mortgage company and the city bought it for back taxes

"You can shovel snow inside the building because the roof, in a number of spots, is caved in," he said.

Demolition bids will be opened Thursday, Erickson said, and the Common Council could award a contract as early as Tuesday.

Alderwoman Linda Lubotsky, who represents the district, was pleased with the redevelopment prospect moving forward.

"I've been working on that Cycle Empire for two years," Lubotsky said, adding: "I see new doors opening."

The purchase adds 1.75 acres to the approximately 19 acres at Loomis Crossing that could be developed. The state Department of Transportation owns 18 of those acres, including the park-and-ride lot.

Greenfield has an agreement with the DOT giving the city first option to acquire the land once a suitable development is found, Erickson said, adding that the park-and-ride lot could provide shared parking for a development going up around it.

At the southern portion of the 18 acres, the city owns about an acre that used to be the location of the Tri-Par tool and die company and a neighboring house. The owner asked the city to buy the property with the two buildings, Erickson said.

To try to attract developer interest, the city has engaged the commercial real estate firm of the Boerke Company Inc.

Developers will have plenty of leeway in the type of development they would build, given that the land-use plan for the area calls for planned mixed use, the broadest possible. It could include such uses as residential, retail, hotels, offices and restaurants, but no manufacturing or industrial uses.

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