Post office property sparking interest - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Post office property sparking interest

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Eau Claire's downtown post office is looking to downsize to a smaller building by more than 20,000 square feet.

This sparked the interest of the city to look at new developments near the phoenix park location.

"They would like to make a move by the end of 2013.  They do have a lease though that runs until the end of September 2014," says Economic Development Director Mike Schatz.

That's the name of the waiting game for the Eau Claire Re-Development Authority as the U.S. Postal Service looks at new locations downtown.

"What we want to do is get control of the building.  This is the last major piece of the phoenix park development area," says City Councilor Bob Von Haden.

To secure that piece, the RDA has approved an offer to purchase the post office property for $350,000

"Get these properties so we can promote additional building and development in the area.  Hopefully that will then enhance all the other operations around," says Von Haden.

"It was originally envisioned in some conceptual drawings that show that as a redevelopment site down the road so it's consistent with some of the plans that we've had in the past," says Schatz.

As it prepares to move the postal service is looking at four possible sites and should have a decision shortly.

"Then we would take the offer to purchase to them for their final approval," says Schatz.

"By getting control of this lot, if there's anything, any work that needs to be done we then have control of it," says Von Haden.

And the city wants to get that control before any private developers drive up the price of the property.

"It could cost us a lot more money to get the property than it does right now," says Von Haden.

The post office property is currently owned by the gateway industrial park corporation, which is a partnership between the city and Xcel Energy.  But it's not affiliated with the redevelopment authority.

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