CDA offers $415,000 for Moose’s Service property planned for redevelopment with former lumberyard site
The Village of Grafton has made a pitch to buy a downtown parcel it hopes to incorporate into plans for a redevelopment project.
The Community Development Authority last week agreed to offer Roger Musbach $415,000 for a half-acre he owns at 1435 Wisconsin Ave. — the site of Moose’s Service, his longtime lawn equipment business.
The CDA decision was made Jan. 27, one day after the Plan Commission was told not to review Musbach’s concept plan to sell the property so it could be converted into an automobile lubrication outlet.
Village Administrator Darrell Hofland said the purchase offer was made in conjunction with the village’s 1999 downtown master plan, which identifies the property as part of a redevelopment site that includes the former lumberyard off Wisconsin Avenue.
Musbach’s recent decision to pursue other uses for the property prompted the CDA action, officials said.
“In light of Mr. Musbach’s decision to discontinue his business operation, the CDA felt that it was an opportunistic time to make an offer to purchase,” Hofland said.
The site is valued because “it’s frontage along Wisconsin Avenue that would provide access to the lumberyard site,” Hofland said.
Musbach said last week that he was disappointed with a legal opinion from the village stating his plan to sell the property so that a Super Lube oil-change business could be
built there would not be allowed under downtown zoning. Super Lube subsequently withdrew its application for a conceptual review.
“I really don’t know what will happen now,” said Musbach, who added that he would continue to consider other options for the land.
Hofland said Musbach has until Friday, Feb. 5, to accept the CDA’s offer, which he received early this week.
Musbach ran his business as a service station for several decades before discontinuing gas sales in 1998. Since then, the business has focused on selling and servicing lawn equipment.
Musbach said he wants to retire and has received several inquiries about the land.
Buying the property was not the preference of the CDA, according to Hofland, who said the village wants to partner with a private investor for the redevelopment project.
“It was the village’s hope not to become directly involved in the acquisition of land,” Hofland said. “It is always preferred to have a developer make the purchase.”
The Musbach site is one of several parcels totaling four acres in the redevelopment site, which is east of the railroad tracks. Plans call for the site to be converted for multiple uses, including commercial/business office and multifamily housing.
Tax incremental financing would be used for public improvements at the site.
Some of the parcels have been cleared and are ready for development, while others have buildings, some of which are used for storage. The village owns three of the parcels totaling a half-acre, including some land that fronts Wisconsin Avenue.
Most of the land is owned by Robert Zellmer, who has worked with the village on redevelopment options for the site. However, Hofland said future ownership of the site is in doubt because mortgage holders are filing offers on parcels through a foreclosure action.
“It’s unknown as to the timing, but the village hopes to work with a potential buyer of the site by late this fall,” he said.
“Because of the size of the redevelopment site and the current financial constraints, the village anticipates multiple phases of redevelopment.”
The CDA approved a resolution for an offer to purchase Musbach’s property on a 4-1 vote. Roger Kirgues was the only member opposed, saying he believed the village should have the land appraised before making an offer.
THE VILLAGE of Grafton is trying to buy a half-acre that local businessman Roger Musbach owns at 1435 Wisconsin Ave., the site of Moose’s Service, his longtime lawn equipment business. Photo by Mark Jaeger