Edgerton real estate developer Dan Rinehart doesn’t understand why the city rejected his financial aid request for a proposed apartment building near downtown.
But he says he’s still committed to projects that promote the downtown business district.
“Obviously, I’m a little disappointed because we have good momentum in Edgerton and pulling people (into downtown), which coordinates directly to their master plan,” he said. “It was a little confusing to me because we’ve been doing plans similar to this.”
Rinehart planned to buy two properties near the corner of Henry and Rollin streets, tear them down and build an eight-unit apartment complex in their place. He requested $430,000 from the city for the project, which was expected to cost $1.3 million, he said.
The city declined that request Dec. 13 at a joint meeting between the city council and redevelopment authority. The proposal will no longer move forward, Rinehart said.
Edgerton’s master plan, created in 2000, calls for more downtown residential projects to boost foot traffic for retail businesses.
City Administrator Ramona Flanigan said the project’s location was a little removed from the heart of downtown. That’s despite being located fewer than two blocks from Fulton Street and within the downtown’s tax-increment financing district.
“It would’ve met the goal of the master plan,” she said. “But other aspects and the incentive required to make the project didn’t raise a high enough bar that the council felt it was a good investment.”
Rinehart has overseen multiple Edgerton real estate projects, including converting three former tobacco warehouses into housing. His redevelopment formula involves finding available properties in the TIF district and trying to make them fit city housing needs, he said.
The city established the district boundaries, so the argument of this project having a poor location doesn’t make sense to him, he said.
Flanigan said although this project didn’t work out, she’s happy with efforts to infuse new life into downtown. Edgerton has “great momentum” with its real estate development, she said.
Rinehart also used the word momentum, saying he did not want the city or his business to lose traction.
He said he’s “re-evaluating” his other ideas to better fit Edgerton’s needs.
Despite his frustration, Rinehart isn’t leaving the city anytime soon. He lives in Edgerton and believes it’s an attractive home for Madison or Janesville commuters.
“I thought I was hitting all cylinders. I’m trying to understand to a greater extent because I thought I had a project together that was appealing to the city,” Rinehart said. “The re-evaluation is how to give the city something that they want. It’s not that I’m leaving the market.”