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Royal Capital Group, an urban developer based out of Milwaukee, has signaled that it plans to buy the former Walker Muffler site.

Owned by the Redevelopment Authority of Racine (RDA), the 9.5-acre parcel is situated along Lake Michigan and sandwiched between the Racine Water Department and Pugh Marina. Royal Capital entered into a principal agreement with the RDA.

Read the press release.

Entering into the agreement means that Royal Capital has exclusive rights to the land as they begin form plans for development.

“There is more interest now in the City of Racine from developers than there has been in several decades,” said Mayor Cory Mason. “I am excited that we have found a reputable developer who shares the same values as the City when it comes to being innovative in design while producing an environmentally sustainable product, and who are focused on benefiting the lives of our residents.”

The project comes on the heels of Foxconn Technology Group announcing that it will open an innovation center at 1 Main Street, which is on the south side of the Root River.

Royal Capital President Kevin Newell, said his firm is “dedicated to a strategy of urban development,” according to a press release by the City of Racine.

No formal plans have been announced as to what Royal intends to do with the property, but it has a long history of doing multifamily and multifamily mixed-use real estate developments. The firm served as the developer and owner for the mixed-use housing and commercial real estate for the Milwaukee Bucks $1 Billion entertainment district in downtown Milwaukee.

“Our firm is excited about the opportunity to transform this underutilized lakefront property into a development that further adds to Racine’s vibrancy in line with the future of smart cities,” Newell said. “Furthermore, we are committed to working with the community, business community, and City leadership to ensure that this site becomes a catalyst for what’s to come in the City of Racine.”

Shannon Powell, a communications consultant for the City of Racine, said the city and Royal Capital will now negotiate potential uses for the site and how it can benefit the City of Racine.

“This agreement basically means that it is under contract and no other developer can come in at this time,” Powell said.

The Common Council would need to approve the sale and the terms of the developer’s agreement. The site is considered ready for industrial development, but more work will be needed if it is used for other uses, said Amy Connolly, development director for the City of Racine.

“The site has received closure to industrial standards,” she said. “There will be more environmental work to do, but we’re still working on these details.”

Looking for information about Halloween Trick-or-Treat times or how to make your trick-or-treating experience a little spookier? Check out Quick Spins, a music review column. Also, check out our feature story on Lombardi, the Racine Theatre Guild’s newest play.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.