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City looks to market vacant property

What to do with vacant city property was once again the topic of discussion in New London.

When the Economic Development Committee and Planning Commission met in October, it decided to have students at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) develop designs on what to put on the city’s vacant property on Wolf River Avenue. Todd Hutchison, a New London native and owner of ABC Development in Milwaukee, knew the professor of the class.

At the Feb. 26 Economic Development Committee and Planning Commission meeting Hutchison talked about the plans the students came up with.

“The end result was less than stellar,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison said the student designs turned into seeing how many units could be put on the property.

As it was at the October meeting, the committee and commission discussed what to do with the property and how to proceed.

Hutchison asked the committee if the land was actively being marketed. And if it wasn’t being marketed, he recommended the city list the land on the different real estate web sites because it doesn’t cost anything to list the property.

Kent Hager, New London city administrator, said the property is listed on the city’s web site and there is a for sale sign on the property itself.

Sandy DuFrane asked how much the city was asking for the property.

She was informed that the price is negotiable, but there is not a set price to start from.

Hager said the price would coincide with the value that is added to the property by a buyer. He said the higher the taxable property after additions, the lower the purchase price would be to a buyer.

Hutchison said a starting price would be helpful.

“Whenever I see “negotiable” I think it is going to be expensive,” Hutchison said.

Hager said the city had $250,000 into the property.

The discussion once again turned to what should be built on the property.

Residential housing made the most sense, Hutchison said, but added that he’d like to see something added that would attract people to downtown.

Hager agreed that residential made the most sense.

Hutchison said brokers may have ideas as to what to build on the property. He added that the city can always say no to a broker’s idea.

If the city lists the property, it needs to have a price on the property, DuFrane said.

“Would you shop at a store that didn’t put prices on their products,” DuFrane said.

When looking at what to build on the property, Hutchison recommended contacting the Department of Natural Resources about the possibility of adding piers by the river.

The committee decided to form a subcommittee to meet with brokers about the property.

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