UPDATE: Groceries on Water Street?

new development would include grocery store, bank, apartments

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

TEARING INTO IT. The former El Patio Restaurant in the 300 block of Water Street was demolished late last year.
TEARING INTO IT. The former El Patio Restaurant in the 300 block of Water Street was demolished late last year.

A new four-story mixed-use building on the 200 block of Water Street will include a grocery store and 87 apartments, according to plans approved by the Eau Claire Plan Commission on Monday, April 18. The building, which would have more than 23,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, would be built on the former site of El Patio and Taco John’s restaurants by developer John Mogensen.

Mogensen told the commission he would like the City Council to create a tax increment financing district to help fund infrastructure needed for the project. In a TIF, new property taxes generated by the increased value of a project go toward specific costs of the project – such as sewer and water access or new streets – rather than into the city’s pocket for other uses. According to the Leader-Telegram, Mogensen noted that TIFs have been used frequently on revitalizing projects in the Barstow Street area of downtown Eau Claire.

While the Plan Commission did approve the project, Mogensen said, “if (the city) doesn’t make this part of a TIF, it could put this on hold,” the newspaper reported.

The Plan Commission also granted a conditional use permit for the $12 million project because of its height (most nearby buildings are one or two stories tall). Parking for the building would include 51 underground stalls and 146 stalls above ground, which would be next to the building and in three separate lots facing Chippewa Street.

Included in the floor plans provided to the city are two drive-ups, one for a bank on the west side of the building and the other for a yet-to-be-determined grocery store on the east end. The grocery would have approximately 12,000 square feet. The student-heavy Water Street neighborhood has been without a grocery store for a decade since the iconic Kerm’s closed in 2006.

Investment Realty plans to move into the new building and demolish its current office at 301 Water St., the newspaper said. The building will have a masonry façade, above- and below-ground bicycle parking, and a 4,000-square-foot exercise room for tenants.

 

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