RACINE — The city will get a 5,100-square-foot commercial building to  add to its portfolio of Uptown buildings — for $250.

Nelson Electric Supply Co. is turning over 1248 Washington Ave. to the city in what City Principal Planner Matt Sadowski called a “friendly condemnation.” That required the Racine Redevelopment Authority to find the 1928 building — originally a Packard dealership — as presenting “spot blight” in a meeting Monday.

Despite that designation, Sadowski said, “It’s not in bad shape.”

The $250 price tag is the City’s only cost, Sadowski said, because federal grant money covers both the environmental investigation that’s been done and the estimated $30,000 in remediation work to come.

By year’s end, Sadowski said, the building should be available for the City to lease out — and ultimately sell if and when Uptown’s economic condition improves.

The structure’s B-3, or general commercial, zoning will allow a wide variety of potential uses. As examples, that could include light manufacturing, auto repair or a restaurant, Sadowski said.

“It’s in relatively good shape and we’re starting a planning program for the Uptown area,” he said, “so we’re very excited about that and to be able to control a building of this visibility, it’s very desirable.”

Similarly, the city also owns Uptown buildings at 1418 and 1511 Washington Ave. Those are zoned B-2, a narrower zoning than B-3.

Nelson Electric President Tom Leuenberger said his company, headquartered at 926 State St., bought the former auto dealership building in the mid-1960s for extra warehouse space. When it built its current, 40,000-square-foot distribution center at 821 S. Airline Road in 1999, the older warehouse “was used less and less and less.”

Just before last Christmas, Nelson offered it to the city, knowing of the desire to lift Uptown’s fortunes, Leuenberger said. From a tax standpoint, it was sensible to make the donation instead of trying to sell it, he said. Neither he nor Sadowski was quite sure where the $250 price came from.

There will be some roof work, Sadowski said, the hydraulic lifts and a small below-ground fuel tank and the lead-based paint will be removed, and as well as the asbestos-containing floor tiles. The work should be finished by year’s end, he said.

The building’s acceptance is pending City Council approval.

(9) comments


Is this property is still available?


i dont care if the city gets money from grants,etc. it's wasted money.

the city of racine needs to get out of the real estate business.
doesnt help that we have a failed Realtor as a mayor who's cousin the city admin does all the real thinking in between growing extra chins

speaking frankly

Another condo project maybe?


All lies, all of the time. Everyone in Racine is hip to Dickert's and O'Connell's lies, so now they trot out Matt Sadowski to lie to us. Mr, Burke will restate any lie told to him. His concern is with M. Burke, not city taxpayers.

Dickert still takes down our streetlights as he plays property games with our tax dollars.

Party on, lying John!


Nelson said From a tax standpoint, it was sensible to make the donation instead of trying to sell it, he said. Neither he nor Sadowski was quite sure where the $250 price came from.

This is the consequences of a City in terminal decline where property ownership is a liability and not an asset. While the Republicrats have worked together to lower the yearly increase in property tax assessed - it doesn't go far enough - Property tax needs to be dramatically lowered in order to make businesses in Racine profitable and viable.

The City of Racine had this assessed for $105,000 and the property tax paid for 2012 was $3,423, according to Racine County records. OF course, we know the TRUE VALUE of the property now - $250.

Just like 233 Lake Ave. - with WE Energies wanting to dump this liability and GIVE it to the City. It is a tax liability ONLY and worth nothing on the open market.

There is a vacant lot just SouthWest of the intersection of W. 6th St and Memorial Dr. that has a sign on it - offering to give it away for FREE!

How about Jim Ladwig and the County? Does anyone believe that Belle Harbor has ANY value - when there are vacant boat slips at Reefpoint Marina and all up and down the
small marinas that dot the Root River? Has anyone purchased Azarians Marina or Main Marine and Ski? I bet they didn't even get an offer.

The Dickert Disaster leads to DEFAULT!

When will Nelson Electric abandon State St.? Surely, that can't be too far off. Only the Marks remain in Racine. The smart money has already gotten out.

Unreal Racine

That building does not look blighted to me. Aren't their specific rules and guidelines to determine if a building qualifies, or is it just up to the mayor to bend the rules as usual to fit his agenda?

Why is the City going into the property management business? Do they have a tenant already lined up? Who is paying the taxes? With so many properties already available for sale and lease around Racine, won't this just take away an opportunity from another local property manager trying to lease or sell their property, and trying to run a business in Racine? When the City is directly competing with local businesses and homeowners in the real estate market, taking properties off of the tax roll, and suing local developers, I think we should all be concerned that their focus is on the wrong projects and goals.

Just look at the success of all of the other pet projects.
What could go wrong?

Who is the opposite of King Midas?
Hint: his first name start with J, and his last name ends in T. Ironic?

Kate Remington
Kate Remington

Hey Matt, what happened to the training program which has outgrown itself at the Marquette St. Fire station which was to occupy this building? I was at meeting and that's what was being said to the Nelsons by your Authority who seem to be the same people on many other committees and commissions. It is a small elite group. Not only was this training program touted to the Nelsons by all of you in authority, it was said to the representative of the training program who attended and the public (me) although we were shuffled in and out due to 'closed' sessions. Did the Authority change its mind while we were out in the hall awaiting a signal that it was okay to return? WRJN must have covered the meeting as this local station has been talking it up for 2 days and I saw a JT reporter there (and it wasn't Mick Burke). So what gives? How come that's not what is being reported by Mick Burke today??? The training program sounded like a good idea for Uptown! One that fits the comeback plan.....or isn't that the plan? Isn't anything what it appears? The Nelsons gave the City a generous gift of a building that was maintained by them for years and the property taxes were paid. Where is the thank you to them?


Hopefully some good will come out of this. I've got to admit this building looks much nicer than the abandoned Packard factory in Detroit, closed since 1958.

Green Racinereal

Cant wait to see what the 150K buys for an identifying feature in Uptown as the CIP calls for.
Looks like the City's Bond rating will sink again .

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.