City eager to move forward with Blackhawk Junction Mall

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The city of Prairie du Chien would like to move forward with plans for Blackhawk Junction Mall. (Courier Press file photo)

 

Parties 

interested in buying parts of property

By Ted Pennekamp

 

The city of Prairie du Chien would like to get started on plans for Blackhawk Junction Mall as soon as the property can be purchased from Crawford County.

The county’s Delinquent Tax Committee authorized their corporate counsel to make its second counter offer to the Prairie du Chien Redevelopment Authority (RDA) regarding Blackhawk Junction Mall during its latest meeting on Monday afternoon.

Driftless Development Director Jim Bowman, who was present for the open session portion of the meeting, told the Courier Press that the city has interested parties who are looking at buying different parts of the property for possible expansion.

Bowman said the city has been awarded two grants regarding Blackhawk Junction. He said one grant is a $35,000 Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant for environmental clean-up analysis of a contaminated portion of the property. The other grant is a DNR grant through the United States Environmental Protection Agency for $20,000 to help pay for design costs of laying out a site plan. Bowman said the site plan would be conceptual and would include building renderings, current market trends, and the Vandewalle and Associates Master Plan created for the property in 2001.

He also said the site plan would also involve the Trade Area Study conducted by the University of Wisconsin Extension Office, and interviews with local businesses such as realtors, lenders, and others to help determine potential uses for the property.

The Housing Study recently completed by Driftless Development would also come into play. In addition, city officials would talk to the four current tenants who are running businesses at Blackhawk Junction about what their needs, concerns and plans are.

“The existing buildings are limited,” said Bowman. “The vacant side of Blackhawk Junction Mall has deteriorated and has water damage and other damages.”

Bowman also noted there is big demand for housing in Prairie du Chien.

“We envision multi-family residential development on this property,” he said about Blackhawk Junction Mall.

Blackhawk Junction Mall previously had an assessed value of $3,349,500. A re-assessment was completed in 2019, however, and the new assessed value is approximately $1.8 million for land and buildings. The total acreage is listed as 8.371.

Bowman said the Prairie du Chien RDA hopes to purchase Blackhawk Junction Mall on behalf of the city. Their first offer was for $400,000 down plus $212,000 to be paid within five years at 0 percent interest. The terms of their second offer are not known. 

When it reconvened into open session Monday afternoon, the county’s Delinquent Tax Committee authorized a counter offer. When asked what the counter offer involved, members of the Delinquent Tax Committee said they wanted to keep that information confidential.

The Delinquent Tax Committee meets on an as needed basis. It is not yet known when their next meeting will be.

Blackhawk Junction Mall was purchased on Oct. 23, 2006, by Blackhawk Junction LLC of Madison. Blackhawk Junction Mall is located at 700 E. Blackhawk Ave., Prairie du Chien.

Blackhawk Junction Mall was foreclosed upon due to delinquent property taxes totalling $488,988. With penalties and interest, the amount owed came to nearly $600,000. The county took ownership of the property in late May.

The first offer of $612,000 by the RDA would cover the cost of the delinquent taxes, interest and penalties owed by the previous owner plus the costs incurred by the county in cleaning up and repairing portions of the property. 

The offer by the city RDA to buy Blackhawk Junction Mall culminates a six-month verbal agreement between the city and the county made at a meeting on May 29 whereby the county and city would work together to initiate a strategic development plan for the property.

The city subsequently hired Vandewalle and Associates, an urban planning company based in Madison, for $8,500 to get a strategic plan in place.

The west side of Blackhawk Junction Mall houses four businesses including Suppz Gym, Mississippi Meats, H&R Block and Associated Bank. The east side has been vacant for several years.

The county has been taking care of maintenance of the outside of the buildings and snow plowing. The tenants have been handling utilities and the inside of their buildings.

Blackhawk Junction Mall generates about $90,000 in property taxes per year.

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