La Crosse Co. and city agree to disagree

County doesn't agree on terms of Lot C with city

La Crosse County and the city of La Crosse are not seeing eye to eye on terms of the future development of County Lot C.

The county approved its version of what’s called a Memorandum of Understanding Thursday night. There’s one problem, it’s different than the version the city approved the night before. The memorandum is part of the purchase agreement in the sale of the lot to Weber Holdings LLC. The county and the city need to reach an agreement before the county closes on the sale with Weber Holdings LLC Tuesday 24.

One big difference in the two versions is a $33 million in guarantee. The city wants the county to promise that the development will generate  $33 million in tax base for city, something that the county believes is up to the developer to promise.

The county also wants the city to provide 125 parking sports for the county, 40 which will go in the development, and another 85 off-site parking spots near the development.  

In its memorandum the county wants to be paid back for any contributions made to the development. This means their expenses would be repaid the same way Weber Holdings and the city is getting paid back.

It’s calling for the city to repay $1.5 million for the parking that will be lost from the development.

The county will place the proceeds from the sale of the lot into an escrow fund that the county holds, releasing those funds with any interest earned to the city is ready to bond and build a parking structure.

The county also reworked wording in the memorandum about receiving money from the tax incremental district the city is creating to help pay for the project.  The county will be the last to collect funds from the TID.

The County Board Chairwomen Tara Johnson said it’s a gesture of good faith that the development will get done.

“We believe there will be 30 plus million dollars in added tax base,” explained Johnson. “We are trying to indicate to our colleagues at the city this development is going to fly at full volume.”

The sale is part of a three part deal between Stizo Development LLC, the county, and Associated Bank. The county is selling its administrative center to Stizo Development LLC to be turned into student housing. It’s also buying the Associated Bank building on State Street. to convert into the new county administration building. Associated Bank will then move into the new development on Lot C.

Developers hope to break ground on the project in the spring of 2015.

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