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Port Washington
City will begin talks to sell Hwy. C parcel PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 02 December 2015 23:47

Council authorizes staff to negotiate sale of 44-acre lakefront site, apply for grants to help pay for upgrades

Following a closed session Tuesday, the Port Washington Common Council unanimously authorized staff members to negotiate the sale of a 44-acre parcel of city-owned land at the intersection of South Wisconsin Street and Highway C and to apply for any state grants  that would help pay for improvements to the property.

Those improvements are most likely to include bluff stabilization efforts and the extension of utilities, City Administrator Mark Grams said.

In his motion, Ald. Dan Becker noted that the property was recently declared surplus by the Plan Commission “since there is no public need for the land” but the public would benefit from the sale of the parcel.

Grams said three parties have indicated an interest in the land — one of whom submitted a letter of interest in obtaining the land on Monday and the two others who have made verbal inquiries.

If others who are interested in the property come forward, Grams added, the city would also negotiate with them.

“We haven’t made a commitment to anybody yet,” he said.

The parcel, which is on the east side of Highway C just south of the We Energies power plant, is considered prime real estate since it runs along the Lake Michigan bluff.

It was acquired by the city as part of a sweeping agreement in which officials agreed to back the conversion of the We Energies power plant from coal to natural gas, and has long been considered ideal for residential development.

Earlier this year, Peter Didier of Re/Max United, estimated the land is worth between $2 million and $2.5 million.

The land, he said, has about 2,300 feet of lake frontage that would allow for the development of 23 100-foot-wide lots.

But when asked if the potential developers had strictly residential uses in mind, Grams said, “I can’t say that. We’re so early in the process, ideas are being bandied about.”

Grams also said that he was unaware of any potential grants that could aid in the development of the property “until the other day. There are a lot of questions about this.”

The city is facing a deadline in looking into any potential grants for infrastructure improvements, he said, adding that officials hope to know “within the next couple weeks.”

That will allow the potential developer to decide whether to move forward, Grams said.

Any grant the city discovers would be available to any developer interested in the property, he added.

If the city does sell the Highway C land, it could become the third lakefront development approved by the community in recent history.

Already in the works are the Cedar Vineyard subdivision off Highway C just south of the city-owned land and the Port Harbour Lights development in downtown.

The Cedar Vineyard subdivision combines 82 home sites with a vineyard and winery and natural areas in a project expected to get under way next year while Port Harbour Lights, a Franklin Street redevelopment project, will add 14 high-end condominium units and 10,000 square feet of retail space to downtown.

 
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