The Confluence Project focuses on riverfront
Posted: May 18, 2012
Clear Vision Eau Claire this week announced a public-private partnership that intends to construct a $55 million community arts center, a $25 million commercial/retail complex and UW-Eau Claire student housing at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers in downtown Eau Claire.
The Confluence Project is planned on a 4.78-acre parcel of land commonly referred to as the Haymarket Site, consisting of the Farmers Store and Market Square buildings that border the downtown Haymarket parking lot. The property, which is owned by LaCrosse,WI-based Reinhart Real Estate Group, will be acquired by Haymarket Concepts, LLC. The development group includes Commonweal Development Corp., Market & Johnson Inc. and Blugold Real Estate, LLC, a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.
"Commonweal Development has been interested in developing this property for a number of years and has been closely watching the Clear Vision community events facilities discussions and other planning processes related to cultural offerings and downtown revitalization," said Commonweal Development President Stuart Schaefer, who added, "While this is an excellent site for private development, we were very interested in pursuing options that could serve as a catalyst for revitalization in the South Barstow District similar to what has occurred in recent years in the North Barstow District. So when the property became available for acquisition, we teamed with Market & Johnson and then approached our partners to explore the possible development of an arts center on the site".
Plans for the project include a 150,000-square-foot performing arts center containing three theatres, art galleries, scene and costume space, art and dance studios and office space. The cost to develop the arts center is approximately $55 million. The other phase consists of a 260,000-square-foot, six-story building with retail space on the first floor, apartment-style housing on the upper floors and an underground 200-stall parking garage.The cost for the facility range from $25 million to $30 million.
State, city and county tax credits will make up a portion of the financing for the proect. It is estimated that the City of Eau Claire will be asked to contribute $9 million with the likelihood of creating a Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) District. The UW-Eau Claire Foundation will try to raise another $10 million to $12 million in private donations.
"The model for operating very easily supports viability," said Dan Clumpner, a partner in Commonweal Development. "But we have a lot of work ahead of us," he said.
The project timeline calls for the mixed-use development to be constructed by fall 2015, with site work and demolition beginning in summer, 2013. The community arts center would be scheduled for completion in the summer of 2016. TBL