Ho-Chunk Nation planning La Crosse development

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WKBT) — The Ho-Chunk Nation said Wednesday that it is in the planning stages of a development in La Crosse’s River Point District, the site just north of downtown that has been targeted by the city for redevelopment.

“It’s exciting to work towards a new enterprise within the Ho-Chunk Nation, one that will be self-sustaining and resistant to any economic downturns,” said Ho-Chunk Nation President Marlon WhiteEagle.

“Also, we will be fulfilling the need for housing in the La Crosse area, as well as providing a meeting place and Youth Services for our tribal members and children. The Three Rivers House in La Crosse has been our regional office for many years and perhaps now would be a good time to provide a new, exciting facility for our people,” WhiteEagle said.

In a press release, the Ho-Chunk Nation said WhiteEagle, along with Perry Carrimon and Michael Sallaway, have met with La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat to discuss the possibility of a business venture to diversify the Nation’s holdings.

“The effort is being made to diversify the Ho-Chunk Nation’s business opportunities, breaking away from gaming, and attempting a more sustainable venture that will endure through downward cycles in the economy,” said the Ho-Chunk Nation in a press release.

Under consideration is the construction of a high-rise building with commercial office and retail space on the first floor, space for a regional office of the Ho-Chunk Nation along with Youth Services and meeting space on the second floor, apartments for rent on the next three or four floors, and condominiums for sale on the top floor.

Blair Williams of Wired Properties — the master developer hired by the city to lead the River Point District project — was enthusiastic about the possibility.

“I think it would be terrific to have the Ho-Chunk to participate at River Point District,” Williams said. “We are confident that the Ho-Chunk Nation has the ability to deliver a development of the highest quality and caliber.”

A proposal video has been created by the Ho-Chunk Nation’s Public Relations Office, which will be shown at the Development Committee meeting on Jan. 26.