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Next for Platteville: The former Pioneer Ford site
Sale sought to developer by mid-2016
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With the Library Block developer agreement approved, City of Platteville government is now turning its attention farther east down Pine Street.

A visioning session was held Tuesday night to discuss the future of the five properties collectively known as the former home of Pioneer Ford Sales at East Pine Street and South Water Street, asking such questions as which uses should and should not be considered for the property, how the property should serve as a gateway to downtown, and which kinds of incentives the city should provide for a developer. 

The city paid $982,426 for the five buildings and closed on the properties Tuesday after the Common Council approved an amended Offer to Purchase Nov. 24.

The city now owns the main Pioneer Ford building at 75 S. Oak St., the building with the arched roof at 70 S. Water St., the former dry cleaner building at 50 S. Water St., the apartment building at 45 S. Oak St., and the parking lot at 70 S. Oak St. The Offer to Purchase states that the buildings were appraised at $1.642 million fair market value June 21.

The purchase agreement includes immediate payment for all but the main dealership building at closing; that building will be paid off between Jan. 1 and Jan. 8. Part of the purchase is being funded by a Community Development Block Grant of up to $500,000 to go toward the purchase and demolition of the buildings. The city also got a grant of up to $150,000 for environmental analysis and remediation. The purchase and demolition is also being funded by the city’s downtown Tax Incremental Financing District 7, approved Nov. 10.

The city may only own the properties until the middle of 2016, however, if the proposed timetable for selection of a developer and use of the property is followed.

A city timetable calls for the Common Council to approve a Request for Proposal and membership of a five-person RFP review committee at its next meeting Tuesday, with RFPs sent out one day later, due Feb. 22. Council approval of a developer and proposal is projected for April 12, with the developer’s agreement being approved by the end of May, and the sale approved before the end of June.

“This location is a key part of the 2010 Downtown Revitalization Plan, which was adopted in January 2011, as it is the gateway to our downtown area,” said Common Council President Eileen Nickels in an April news release when the city announced it was purchasing the property. “It is critical to provide an environmentally sound and clean building site to attract potential developers to support the future of downtown Platteville.”

Pioneer Ford moved to East Business 151 in 2012, 50 years after the dealership opened at the Pine and Water site.

The last time the city made a major real estate purchase was 15 houses formerly owned by Darrel Kallembach, which were purchased through more than $300,000 in fines and interest charged to Kallembach for violations of city building codes. Two developers purchased four other Kallembach houses in the 2013 sheriff’s sale. The city sold 12 of the houses and demolished three.