New jobs could come to Racine if a $65 million development proposal becomes reality.
Financial District Properties (FDP) from Davenport, IA, has secured real estate options on a tract of land roughly bordered by Water Street and the Root River. The multi-parcel site – around 20 acres total being called Machinery Row – includes the Azarian Marina and at least two existing industrial buildings constructed by the J.I. Case company in the early 20th Century.
The announcement was made Tuesday by City of Racine Mayor John Dickert, County Executive Jim Ladwig, Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, and representatives from FDP.
This is an initial investment, according to a press release from the City of Racine, and plans include redeveloping the larger of the two buildings for a mixed commercial-residential development. FDP has tackled difficult urban revitalization projects before in Moline, IL, and smaller individual projects in Davenport.
“Today we are pleased to announce the City of Racine and our partners have secured the commitment of a seasoned developer in Rodney Blackwell and his firm, FDP to redevelop Machinery Row estimated at $65 million in total investment and will be the single largest re-development project in the history of the City of Racine,” Racine Mayor John Dickert in the release.
Some of the financing for Machinery Row will come in part from the Historic Tax Credit, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.
The tax credit went into effect last January and returns 20 percent of the cost of remodeling historic commercial buildings. Originally marked at five percent, state lawmakers last year approved an increase to 10 percent and then 20 percent, a story at jsonline.com reads.
Project Manager Jim Bowman confirmed that companies are already interested in the site and that by the middle of July anchor tenants will be secured.
The larger building measures some 500,000 square feet and will be rehabbed to welcome both commercial and residential tenants, according to a story in The Journal Times.
Machinery Row is located within the 325-acre RootWorks initiative, a plan that has been brewing for most of the last decade that aims to revitalize the city’s downtown area and create a thriving river walk similar to cities like Sheboygan and Cedarburg.
“To redevelop our riverfront as part of this RootWorks plan is really going to bring people back to the river,” Mason – a founding member of the Root River Corridor Redevelopment Plan – said in the release. “When you think about Racine, people think about Lake Michigan. But a lot of people forget that Racine would not be what it is today if it weren’t for the Root River … It’s a great asset for the community economically, it’s a great opportunity to improve water quality and it’s a fantastic opportunity to reconnect the citizens of this community with the riverfront.”
Marketing materials distributed with the announcement release compare Machinery Row with Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward when that redevelopment first got underway and lists a grocery store, a restaurant, a day care, office space and a possible exhibit hall as potential commercial tenants.
Occupancy is slated to begin in Fall 2015.