Local developer buys Janesville shopping center

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Jim Leute
Friday, June 13, 2014

JANESVILLE—A local developer would like to make his latest acquisition a source of pride for Janesville and its south side.

Kevin Hendricks and Backyard Properties of Rock County on Tuesday bought the Blackhawk Village Shopping Center, which sits on nearly 12 acres along Center Avenue on the city's south side.

The center includes two buildings occupied by four tenants.

The largest, 1900 Center Ave., is home to the Rock County Job Center.

The second building, 1820 Center Ave., is just to the north and houses Family Dollar, Cricket and Thrift Cents, a pre-owned clothing store.

Hendricks said he bought the property as an investment. Having the county and its job center as the prime tenant provides security to look at more development on the site, he said.

He said he plans to clean up the property and investigate its full potential.

“I want to work with the city to see if we can do some multifamily or senior housing on the north side of the lot where's there's green space,” he said.

The parcel also has plenty of room between its two buildings and Center Avenue for new buildings, he said.

“If you look out there, most of the shopping malls are right on Center, so there's potential for that, as well,” he said.

Gale Price, the city's manager of building and development services, said the city hasn't seen a plan for the property but has talked about concepts with Hendricks.

“It's an aging property, and the best option might be a teardown and rebuild,” Price said. “We'll see.”

Hendricks bought the property from Milestone Properties of Delray Beach, Florida.

“The difference here is that Kevin has a vision for doing something,” Price said. “He sees it as an opportunity to do something nice on the south side.”

According to documents filed with the Rock County Register of Deeds, Backyard bought the shopping center property for $2.1 million.

William Mears and Kurt Egan of Coldwell Banker Commercial McGuire Mears & Associates in Janesville negotiated the sale.

Years ago, the shopping center was a busy retail area.

Belscot and Kmart operated in what is now the job center. Those stores closed in 1979 and 1990, respectively.

Ben Franklin operated for years in the neighboring building before it closed in 2007.

“This is my next project,” said Hendricks, who recently completed a redevelopment of a blighted area in the 1200 block of Rockport Road.

There, Hendricks bought the former Case Feed warehouses, demolished one and renovated others into storage and office space for contractors.

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