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$3.5 million in incentives proposed for Woodman's in Waukesha

Sept. 19, 2011

Waukesha - Woodman's Food Market, which has announced plans to build a grocery store on the vacant Spancrete Industries Inc. site at Highway 164 and E. Main St., will get up to $3.5 million in financial incentives from the city under a package unanimously recommended Monday by the city's Redevelopment Authority.

A proposed tax incremental financing plan states that Woodman's would develop a 243,753-square-foot grocery store and create 219 full- and part-time jobs, adding $15 million to the city's tax base when finished.

A public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at City Hall before the Plan Commission to seek approval of the proposed tax increment district and project plans. Approval of a Joint Review Board of other government representatives must also be obtained.

The Common Council is expected to act on a rezoning request for the project, changing the land use from industrial to commercial, at its Oct. 4 meeting.

In a letter to Common Council members, Community Development Director Steven Crandell said the tax incremental financing plan will provide incentives for redevelopment of a blighted area.

In justifying the incentives, the plan says that commercial growth in Waukesha has come to a near standstill. In addition, it says that redevelopment of the no-longer used industrial site is much more costly than development on virgin land.

Spancrete Industries, which manufactures large concrete panels, closed its facility on Main St. last November.

Woodman's, a Janesville-based employee-owned retail grocer, would occupy about 19 acres of the 34-acre site, along with a gas station. About a half-dozen out lots of about an acre or two would be developed separately.

The property is adjacent to a Pick 'n Save grocery store.

The tax incremental financing plan lists some extraordinary costs that, if left to Woodman's to pay entirely, would make it unfeasible.

Those include $1 million to $1.2 million for demolition of an existing shuttered Spancrete concrete plane casting facility, $200,000 to $250,000 in city-required architectural upgrade to the Woodman's building, $150,000 to $200,000 in site preparation, $125,000 to $150,000 in environmental testing, $400,000 to $600,000 for off-site infrastructure improvements and $3 million to $4 million in land acquisition costs.

Tax incremental financing allows municipalities to use property taxes generated by new or improved property to pay for the public improvements that attracted the new development. Until the project costs are paid off, up to a maximum of nearly 30 years, the added tax base from the development is not shared with overlying taxing districts, such as the county, school and technical school districts.

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