MOUNT PLEASANT — More outside investor money continues to pour into the greater Racine area, most recently from an Illinois developer and a Milwaukee developer/property management firm.
With Foxconn Technology Group beginning to lay infrastructure for the $10 billion Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park in southwestern Mount Pleasant, developer activity in the area has never been greater.
One example is the housing development that Inspired Real Estate Developers has begun just west of Downtown, just north of the Sixth Street bridge, along the river. Inspired also has begun buying properties immediately south of the bridge at that point. Company spokeswoman Dona Myers recently said the company now plans an approximately $55 million development there to create about 335 new market-rate apartments.
Another recent example is that three California developers, collectively called Mt. Royal, have bought the former YMCA building at 401 Wisconsin Ave. in Downtown Racine for $399,000. The group is planning to create housing on the site — either by redeveloping the four-story building or razing it and constructing a new building. The former would be about a $3 million project and the latter a $20 million project. A member of that developer team, Tim Ryan, said the entire reason for their interest in a housing project here is Foxconn.
Another pending housing development in the city of Racine is the plan by Cardinal Capital of Milwaukee to build an approximately $18 million, four-story courtyard building on the former Ajax industrial site in Uptown to create 112 market-rate apartments.
A more open-ended developer investment by an outside company comes from Stack Real Estate of Northbrook, Ill. Stack recently acquired 54 acres of farmland at 10215 Washington Ave., northeast of the north end of Renaissance Boulevard. The land is also just east/northeast of where Ascension All Saints Hospital just announced it will build a new $42 million medical clinic.
The $1.44 million deal was purely a speculation purchase at this point, said Jeff Rothbart, a partner in Stack Real Estate. He said the site has these potential advantages:
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- It has about 3,000 feet of frontage along the Canadian Pacific Railroad line.
- It is close to the Amtrak train depot at the southwest corner of Highway 20 and South Fancher Road.
- It is reached via Renaissance Boulevard which is signalized at Highway 20.
And the Ascension medical clinic announcement is an added bonus, Rothbart said.
“Having a medical center adjacent makes (it) attractive for all sorts of uses,” he said. With Interstate 94 just to the west and heavier development to the east, Rothbart said, “I think it just shows the area between (highways) V and H is going to infill quickly.”
The newly acquired land is possibly suited for a mixed-use development, Rothbart said, but he sees its most likely future as industrial or flexible industrial with 25-foot ceiling clearances and about 60 percent office space. He thinks housing or retail are less likely outcomes.
Auto dealership bought
Farther east along Highway 20, last month Wangard Partners of Milwaukee bought the former Racine Automotive Group property at 6940 Washington Ave. for $1.7 million. Wangard, which does multiple types of development as well as property management, did not respond to requests for comment.
The former used-vehicle dealership, which sits on 3.4 acres along the north side of Highway 20, closed in August 2017 after more than seven years in business.