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Regency Mall is expanding its offerings, creating plans for the undeveloped areas at and around the mall, according to a memo by Jim Palenick, Racine city administrator.
Racine Redevelopment Authority (RDA) recommended spending $91,000 to have two organizations spearhead the development project: Jerry Franke’s firm, Franke Development Advisors and Rinka Architects of Milwaukee.
In a memorandum, City Administrator Jim Palenick wrote:
“The Regency Mall property, along with multiple, large-scale, retail properties adjacent or adjoining thereto, have struggled in recent years with retail bankruptcies, high vacancy rates, and a vastly and negatively altered retail environment — as shoppers have moved away from malls and big-box stores.”
Located at Green Bay Road and Durand Avenue, the initial tax incremental finance (TIF) district plan called for spending $15.7 million investment over several phases. This first phase involved a $4 million upgrade to the interior of the mall, which happened in 2018. But the city is looking at scrapping those plans.
With the Foxconn project in development, Palenick believes there will be a high demand in the area for multifamily housing. Additionally, a mixed-use outlet such as the “town center” style development in Oak Creek (developed by Franke) will likely see success here and return the struggling area to economic vitality. Palenick called the timing of the project critical “to best bring sustainable economic vitality and investment back.”
Here’s how a TIF district works.
Rinka would develop the planning documents needed for the project.
Hull Property Group, the organization that owns Regency Mall, has been working with the City of Racine on redevelopment plan for the past year, and the first phase of the plan has been completed. Phase II is being reimagined.
“We believe the use of Intergovernmental shared revenue funds (IG) is entirely appropriate in this case because they will go toward furthering what we believe can ultimately be tens of millions in new investment in exchange for a relatively modest, one-time expense for high-quality, conceptual and design plans, along with the marketing and development skills to recruit and solicit the developers who will put such plans and investment in place,” the memo reads.
The RDA’s recommendation of these two organizations is scheduled to go to the city Finance and Personnel Committee on Jan. 21 and the City Council on Feb. 5. If accepted, the plan would be due June 30.