BELOIT—A long-vacant property along Beloit’s riverfront could be replaced with a mixed-use development that would include a major extension to the city’s waterfront walkway.
The Beloit City Council is expected to review aspects of the plan at its meeting on Monday.
Planning documents obtained by the Beloit Daily News shows East Grand Avenue Development LLC, a Hendricks Commercial Properties company, plans to build a four-story, 12,000-square-foot building at 80-100 E. Grand Ave. as part of a capital investment between $16 million and $20 million.
The plan would include demolishing the current building including the portion over the Rock River. After demolition, an extension of the existing Beloit riverwalk system would be built to connect from the segment behind First National Bank and Trust southwest along the Rock River.
Hendricks Commercial Properties CEO Rob Gerbitz said plans for the building aren’t yet finalized, but would include a range of retail on the first floor and “either apartments or offices on the upper floors.”
“Which one of those will be on the upper floors has yet to be determined,” Gerbitz said.
Gerbitz said the location was intriguing for new development. He added it could have a possitive impact on the city’s downtown by extending the riverwalk further towards ABC Supply Stadium, home of the Beloit Sky Carp baseball team.
While redevelopment is typically the first option sought, Gerbitz said the condition of the building coupled with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) requiring the building’s extension over the river be removed by 2044, new construction was the only viable option.
“While that may seem like a long time away, it doesn’t make any financial sense to remodel it in its current state,” Gerbitz said.
Construction, if approved, would likely start in the summer of next year, Gerbitz confirmed.
Grant funding will be key to the project’s future success due to the steep costs of demolishing a riverfront building.
At Monday’s meeting, the council could take possible action on applying for a Municipal Flood Control Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)worth $693,131 and applying for a SLATS grant from DNR worth $1.99 million.
“It’s imperative to the project,” Gerbitz said of the prospect of grant funding.
To those critical of the project’s plan to alter the Gantry space, Gerbitz said the Gantry area would be rebuilt as part of the extension of the riverwalk.
“It really is a great opportunity for the continued growth of Beloit,” Gerbitz said. “What excites me most is the opportunity it is going to provide for new businesses to open up in one of the most dominant corners in the entire downtown. Overall just a really exciting and impactful project for Beloit.”
The Beloit City Council will meet on Monday at 6:30 p.m. for agenda review and a regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. The council meets at City Hall, 100 State St. Meetings are also broadcasted on the Beloit Access YouTube channel.