Two of the final roadblocks toward moving Platteville’s Library Block project forward are on the way to getting passed.
The developer of the Library Block project says the Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program Neighborhood Health Partners clinic will move temporarily to the former Platteville Police Department space on the first floor of the Municipal Building.
The development agreement between the city and the Library Block developer, Troy Hoekstra of United Development Solutions, is slated to be voted upon by the Common Council Tuesday.
“The challenge before us is to cross a few hurdles,” said Hoekstra. “This thing should be closing in 30 days or less, barring a bolt of lightning.”
If the developer’s agreement is approved, removal of hazardous materials from the buildings on West Main Street, South Chestnut Street, West Pine Street and South Elm Street, along with work to move the health clinic, could start in December, with demolition beginning in January.
Hoekstra said he didn’t purchase the clinic space from SWCAP because “We didn’t need to buy it.” He said the former police station site “wasn’t anybody’s first choice for the clinic.”
The clinic needs a building to meet federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration codes for medical facilities, but only until it moves into the current library building.
The Library Block 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. Both projects are slated to be built between February and November, followed by the remodeling of the current library for the clinic between December 2016 and February 2017.
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 a $2 million loan from the city’s Tax Incremental Financing District 7, according to the agreement. The city is also donating the current library site, valued at $800,000, for the clinic.
See LIBRARY BLOCK page 5A υ
District 1 Ald. Barb Daus called it “an incredibly complex project,” adding that the NMTC application process featured “complexities that are … mind-boggling is the only way I can say it.”
“State and federal laws are different for the same tax credit,” said at-large Ald. Mike Denn.
City documents say that the project will have guaranteed TIF tax return of $2.685 million, divided by annual payments between 2017 and 2036.
The city also will be paying $1.5 million in rent over seven years — paid for by increased tax revenue from the project, revenue from other city TIF districts, or general tax revenue. After the lease, which may be extended up to one more year, runs out, the developer may donate the library to the city. New Market Tax Credits require market-rate leases over the life of the credits.
“Every dollar spent by the city is going to be paid back to the city,” said Hoekstra. “At the end of the day, the net expense for the city is going to be zero, relative to the library. … It is our intent and our financial need to give this library back to the city.”
As for the Holiday Inn Express, Hoekstra said it will be “well maintained, well run, and pay its taxes on time.”
The Library Block’s original plan encompassed the entire block — West Main Street, South Chestnut Street, West Pine Street and South Elm Street — but was reduced in size after a parking lot owned by First English Lutheran Church was removed from the project, and after a new clinic was eliminated in favor of renovating the current 10,000-square-foot library for the clinic in January. Eliminating apartments, retail and some parking reduced the project from the original estimate of $19 million to $21 million to an estimated $16 million.
The Library Block project had to clear the hurdle of the design of the West Main Street and South Chestnut Street sides of the project, after objections by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. The project 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 Common Council approved the design of the rest of the building March 24, and the north and west sides of the building April 14. The Library Board, which includes representatives from Platteville Public Schools and the Grant County Board of Supervisors, approved the design April 20.
The developer agreement with Miners Development LLC was approved April 30, 3½ hours before the deadline for the agreement to be approved. The council approved a letter of intent with United Development Solutions June 9, in which the city agrees to lease commercial space from the developer at $10 per square foot for at least seven years.