Blighted area improved

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Marcia Nelesen
Monday, October 28, 2013

What's going on?

JANESVILLE--A Janesville businessman is improving a blighted area on Rockport Road with new storage and office space for contractors.

Kevin Hendricks, who owns Backyard Properties with his wife, Rhonda, bought the old Case Feed warehouses at 1206 Rockport Road. Richard Donahue most recently owned the property.

The 1 acres is west of the railroad and across from Van Galder Bus.

Hendricks has cleared trees and overgrowth and hauled away garbage and tires.

“It's just a full rehab,” Gale Price of the city's planning department said. “It's nice to see somebody develop it into something that's going to be an asset.”

Price said there had been issues on the site with stormwater and illegal auto shops working out of the buildings.

Hendricks tore down one dilapidated structure and is renovating two existing warehouses with new metal facades. He is building two new buildings, one of which will have an office.

Two of the buildings will be heated with bathrooms and two will be cold storage. They range in size from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet.

The warehouses have doors measuring 12 feet by 14 feet so contractors can store large equipment and material. The warehouses also have bathrooms and space for a small office.

“We're basically trying to develop it into a more usable property,” Hendricks said of the Rockport site. “What was down there before was pretty much an eyesore.”

Hendricks plans to pave the gravel lot, build a retaining wall and put in a new sewer system. He hopes to have the project done in spring.

“It's going to be nice,” Hendricks said. “I hate to see good buildings go to waste.”

Hendricks renovated the former Chamber and Owens building at 2107 Foster Ave. for a similar use.

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