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Library Block agreement approved
Construction to start July 1
Library Block NE no trees
The Library Block project will include a new library and Holiday Inn Express hotel. - photo by City of Platteville

The Platteville Common Council approved the developer agreement for the Library Block project after an executive-session meeting Thursday night.

The agreement — signed 3½ hours before the deadline for the agreement — paves the way for construction on the Library Block site to begin July 1 or “such other date” the developer and the city may agree to, with a target completion date of May 30, 2016.

The developer agreement with Miners Development LLC — Troy Hoekstra of St. Cloud, Minn. — finances the project in part by a $2 million loan from the city’s Tax Incremental Financing District 7, which places the city in “a good position should something bad happen,” said former city manager Larry Bierke.

The agreement also includes the delivery of the deed for the Platteville Public Library to the city immediately upon completion of the library, even though, Bierke said, the city wouldn’t sign the deed until seven years after completion.

“We want to make sure no matter what, we don’t lose the library,” he said. “The city did everything it could in the agreement to protect itself.”

The developer has until June 1 to secure $8.155 million in bank financing. The project financing includes $16.1 million in federal New Market Tax Credits, which will convert to $4 million in project equity. The rest of the project equity will come from $2 million in cash and the TIF loan, according to the agreement.

The New Market Tax Credits come from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and from Forward Community Investments, a Madison community development financial institution.

The Library Block presently includes the library, the Block, Scott & Heenan Law Offices and Block Apartments, the Neighborhood Health Partners clinic owned by the Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program, a dance studio, a real estate office, three houses, and a 16-stall parking lot shared by the library and First English Lutheran Church. Block, Scott & Heenan’s building is the former Cunningham Hospital.

The project includes a 72-room Holiday Inn Express hotel and a 22,000-square-foot library, more than double the size of the current library. The new library would include a 100-person meeting room and conference room for 10 to 12 people on its second floor. It also would include areas geared to teen and tween readers.

The project takes up less of the Library Block than originally planned after a parking lot owned by First English Lutheran Church was removed from the project. Eliminating apartments, retail and some parking reduced the project from the original estimate of $19 million to $21 million.

The Common Council approved the revised exterior of the project April 14 after balking on the South Chestnut Street and West Main Street facades of the project. The project, bordered by West Main, South Chestnut, West Pine and South Elm streets, is in between the city’s Main Street Historic District, which ends at Chestnut Street, and the West Main Street Historic District, which starts at Elm Street.

The developer has until May 30 to reach agreement with the Platteville Library Board on the interior design of the project, and until June 1 to secure financing.