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Photo credit: City of RacineThe Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a public-private entity charged with spurring economic development in the state, has given Racine a $1 million grant to help clean-up several industrial properties along the Root River that will become part of the Machinery Row development project.

Machinery Row is a multi-phase retail and apartment development project along the Root River in the 900 block of Water Street.

More than 100 jobs are expected to be created in the first phase of the project and more than 500 jobs are anticipated for the project, according to a press release by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

“We are excited that the state and WEDC have the same vision as we do for the Machinery Row site,” said Racine mayor John Dickert. “The Idle Industrial Site grant will allow the project to move forward quickly and provide environmental remediation for the project. Thanks to the teamwork on this project we will begin the rebuilding of our riverfront for all of Racine to enjoy.”

Financial District Properties, a commercial real estate  development company based in Davenport, Iowa, plans to develop the 20-acre multi-parcel site. The first phase represents $42 million of the $65 million project.

“This redevelopment has the potential to transform what is now a neglected area into a place where people can live, work, shop and dine along the scenic riverfront,” said Reed Hall, secretary and chief executive officer of WEDC. “This is one of the most significant economic development projects in Racine’s history, and WEDC is pleased to be able to provide support for this ambitious initiative.”

In December, the common council approved the first phase, which calls for the city to use $1.8 million in intergovernmental revenue-sharing funds to buy three parcels of land; granting a $4.5 million bridge loan from the redevelopment authority to Financial District Properties; and the city borrowing $7 million to pay for infrastructure improvements. The development includes 12 properties along 900 Water St.

The $4.5 million loan dollars will come from the redevelopment authority. Once Financial District Properties secures financing from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it is expected to pay back the $4.5 million to the redevelopment authority.

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.

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