Machinery Row Property deeded back to Racine

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River Walk

The City of Racine now has the deed for the former Machinery Row property, which means it can demolish the buildings, clear the land, and sell the property to a new developer.

FDP MR LLC deeded the former Machinery Row property at 1010 Water St. to the Redevelopment Authority (RDA) of the City of Racine last week. Initially, the RDA financed the Machinery Row project. But it has now acquired the property by being given the deed in lieu of foreclosure.

Rodney Blackwell, the owner of Iowa-based development firm FDP MR LLC, had three of the four parcels that made up the project. Blackwell was in default of the developer agreement he had with the city. Still, the city held the deed to those three properties but it hadn’t recorded them.

Why did the project not come to fruition?

One of the Machinery Row buildings suffered “significant deterioration” and as a result, Gorman and Company decided not to move forward with buying the properties, said Racine Planning Director Amy Connolly at a Common Council meeting last fall.

The city owns about six acres along the riverfront and a section of land leading from Water Street to the riverfront. Now that they have acquired the property, the buildings can be demolished, staff can come up with a different plan for the property and the 14-acre can be sold to another developer.

The city will lose $9 million in Historic Preservation Tax credits because the buildings won’t be preserved, but Connolly told the group that it is still a tax incremental finance district. Given the potential for major developments coming to southeast Wisconsin, an opportunity to attract national developments is possible.

But it plans to work with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to modify its agreement to receive a $1 million grant for idle and industrial sites for demolition and abatement and grants from the DNR for the Riverwalk. Given the potential for major developments coming to southeast Wisconsin, an opportunity to attract national developments is possible.

“We’re just in a way different place than we were three years ago,” she said last fall.