Confluence Project takes one step forward, one step back - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Confluence Project takes one step forward, one step back


Eau Claire (WQOW) - A setback for the Confluence Project:  it won't go before the UW Board of Regents in December.

Developers are asking the UW System for more than  $50 million and were hoping to make that request next month.

Monday, WQOW News 18 spoke with the Associate Vice President for Capitol Planning for the UW System.  He says, the project just won't be ready to go before the board in December and there are a number of criteria that still must be met. Namely, the project needs a third party involved in case one cannot meet its financing goals.  The next regents meeting would be in February.

On Monday, the $85 million project also went before the Eau Claire Plan Commission. The commission gave their support for a recommendation on rezoning and on the overall development plan, in a 7-2 vote.  The project calls for student housing, an arts center and retail space in downtown Eau Claire. One thing discussed at length Monday was whether there would be enough parking for the project. 

Another key detail WQOW News 18 discovered Monday was this: since there are historic buildings that may be needed for the project, and developers are asking for state money, they must be in contact with the Wisconsin Historical Society.  There is a process that requires them to describe how historic properties would be adversely affected, followed by a negotiation about how to minimize or avoid it.

The Wisconsin Historical Society says, a UW System officer must be in contact with them, and hasn't been yet.  But, there's a lot of confusion concerning the process.

WQOW also contacted the UW System officer who says it was the developer's responsibility to be in contact with the historical society.  Those developers told WQOW News 18 they did reach out at one point.  

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