Downtown Eau Claire Lot Eyed for Redevelopment

Tom Giffey

A city-owned parking lot between North Farwell and North Barstow streets could be the next redevelopment site in downtown Eau Claire. The Eau Claire City Council voted unanimously in February to declare the so-called Railroad Lot, 100 N. Farwell St., as excess property. This paves the way for the city to issue a request for proposals from private developers, who would outline how much they would pay for the site and what they would like to build there. Scott Allen, the city’s community development director, says he previously spoke to several developers  who were interested in building on the property. During the recent process of selecting a developer for the so-called Block 7 and liner sites – ultimately, the city’s Redevelopment Authority chose Pablo Properties – developers asked what other city parcels might be available. The Railroad Lot, which is located just on the other side of North Barstow from those two sites, became an obvious possibility. And, according to City Council documents, city staff members considered these requests and decided “the property (is) more valuable as a redevelopment site than a parking lot.” The lot – which overlooks the Chippewa River Bike Trail and the Eau Claire River – is just over an acre in size and includes about 66 parking spots. Allen said he would expect that proposals that come forward would include some parking, whether it’s underground or on the surface.