The "Big Catch"
Posted: July 11, 2008
When I fish, I have never been that interested in making the "big catch". I would rather reel in a bunch of bluegills, crappies and small largemouth bass because I know this approach gives me the best opportunity to make a meal in the near term as opposed to waiting to lure the "monster fish".
Yet, I am observing a number of potential economic development projects in the Chippewa Valley that are banking on attracting the largest retail users to anchor their new projects. Personally, I don't see it happening anytime soon.
TO THE NORTH: The developers of the new Chippewa Crossing project, which involves about 300 acres of land near the intersection of Highway 29 and Seymour Cray Boulevard, have some grandiose plans for retail, office, restaurants, etc. Even though the development team out of Elm Grove,WI, has deep pockets, I have some reservations about their ability to attract commercial users in the short term.
FARTHER SOUTH: The Village of Lake Hallie has done a nice job of creating an organized process of commercial development, however I wonder how long officials with Menard Inc. will wait until the new store they committed to developing two years ago is actually built. Likewise, there are at least three other retail businesses that own land along the Highway 53 Freeway that have delayed their plans to relocate and expand. My guess is that anyone who is considering a development along the Freeway is waiting to see what the traffic count is before they commit to building.
The City of Altoona recently hired a company that is convinced it can attract restaurants, retail users and possibly some "big box" stores along the River Prairie Freeway interchange. The same firm thinks it has the capability to lure a movie theatre, which I think is insane.
Meanwhile, Neil Haselwander, who has developed all of the Princeton Valley area and has a track record of attracting other businesses to his commercial projects in other markets, is beating everyone by planning to develop a commercial highway project at the intersection of Highway 53 and the North Crossing. He intends to attract smaller users and I wonder whether it may be a sign that developers should be content with luring the smaller fish than trying to bait the big one that may never bite - at least for the short term.
RANDOM THOUGHT: Fans of the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers can only hope that the second half of the baseball season is as exciting as the first half has been. Personally, I hope both teams make the playoffs.