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Enthusiasm Remains High Over Downtown Kenosha Redevelopment

There’s progress to report on that proposed, massive downtown Kenosha redevelopment project.

A list of six prospective developers that met a Nov. 1st application deadline has been whittled down to three, according to Mayor John Antaramian.

The three finalists will now discuss in greater detail with city officials their concepts and finances, Antaramian said.

The targeted redevelopment area includes the current city hall, vacant land surrounding that building, and several other existing structures that would be demolished, including the former police dept. building that currently houses the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Antaramian envisions a $300 million project that would include a new city hall, a park, a performing arts center, condos and apartments; and spaces for retail and office.

Antaramian says he remains excited, and that developers are chomping at the bit. "It's an exciting time," Antaramian said this past week. "I believe this is going to happen but it's got a long ways to go," he said. 

Once the city selects a developer, one of the first orders of business is to jump start construction of a new Municipal Building, Antaramian said. The long-mentioned site is where the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau sits in the northeast quadrant of Sheridan Rd. and 56th St. 

Also, work will need to start immediately on at least one large for-profit project within the redevelopment site in order to raise the tax increment as soon as possible, he said. 

In other development news:

A big box store has backed out of a plan to build in Kenosha. Mills Fleet Farm won’t be putting up a store at I-94 and 60th St. after all. According to Antaramian, the reason is that Fleet Farm was unable to present a letter of credit to the city that would’ve guaranteed that the company would finance modifications to an adjacent frontage road.

Also, an announcement is expected within the next several weeks on a new use for the former Barden’s Dept. store building in downtown Kenosha. Earlier this year, the city put out a request for proposals for the property that’s now owned by the city. Antaramian wouldn’t identify the developer that the city has been working with or describe the project, but he did say it won’t entail a housing component.  

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