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City still eyes hotel, center for riverfront

December 28, 2018

Watertown Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Kristen Fish said the city is still “very much interested” in seeing a hotel/conference center in its downtown area.

Her comments came on the heels of Watertown’s Redevelopment Authority signing a letter of intent and a memorandum of understanding Dec. 17 with property developer T. Wall Enterprises, LLC of Middleton.

T. Wall Enterprises President Terrence Wall provided a brief presentation last week on a proposed 75-unit, multifamily development for Watertown’s downtown which would have a sky deck overlooking the river.

“We would love to still have a hotel and conference center, but not on that particular site,” Fish told the Daily Times this morning.

She said there are other sites, potentially the parking lot along First Street, which could accommodate a hotel and conference center.

The RDA’s long-term plan is to acquire all properties in that block and have them razed and redeveloped into a large commons area along the river and also a boutique kind of hotel. Both projects are part of an overall redevelopment plan pursued by the RDA.

The Watertown Redevelopment Authority has come to terms with the Watertown Daily Times property. The city is expected to close on it Jan. 11, 2019. The other five tenants on the 100 block of West Main Street include Triana’s Trophy Case, Authentic Ancient Arts, Images Salon and the Wisconsin Hearing Aid Center. The Chalet Restaurant closed on Oct. 31 and it is uncertain if it will reopen at a new location.

The funding for the acquisition of these properties came from tax incremental financing District No. 5 (a TIF is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure and other community-improvement projects) which has generated several million dollars which can be used for these kinds of investments.

The Daily Times and Triana’s Trophy Case are still searching for new locations.

The other agreements are with Kim Peterson, owner of the properties at 101 and 105 W. Main St., and 121 W. Main St., which is owned by WP Property Investments. Peterson operates Wisconsin Hearing Aid Center at 101 W. Main St. and has a rental property at 105 W. Main St., which is a tax preparation service. The 121 W. Main St. property is the location of Triana’s Trophy Case which is operated by Ed Wolff III. The property also has three apartments on the second floor.

Authentic Ancient Arts, Images Salon and the Wisconsin Hearing Aid Center have not announced new locations.

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