181222_FACTORY

A photo shows downtown Edgerton. City officials are trying to purchase a property that formerly housed a Nunn-Bush shoe factory at 407 N. Main St. The city is currently seeking a developer with ideas for how to use the site.

EDGERTON

Edgerton hopes to redevelop an industrial building that has sat vacant for nearly a decade on one of its most-traveled roads.

The 55,000-square-foot former Nunn-Bush shoe factory at 407 N. Main St. has remained mostly empty since landscaping company Green-Tek, the last active tenant, left Edgerton in 2009, City Administrator Ramona Flanigan said.

Wis-Tek, the parent company of Green-Tek, bought the property in a “rather convoluted” process after Green-Tek departed, Flanigan said.

The Gazette reported in 2009 that Green-Tek left Edgerton after a dispute with then-landlord Jim Grafft, a Janesville property owner and developer.

Now the city wants to move forward on fixing up the site.

The city is pursuing a deal to buy the property from Wis-Tek for $250,000 on the condition that the city first find a developer to take it over, Flanigan said.

Elected officials gave the city the go-ahead to pursue the deal Monday during closed-session discussions at a joint city council and redevelopment authority meeting.

The city has until June to find a developer and learn what needs to be done at the site, Flanigan said.

The building is in rough shape, she said. It is no longer suited for modern industrial uses and would be difficult to lease.

Developers are often reluctant to take on “unknowns,” which is why city officials want to research what the site needs as they seek a developer, Flanigan said.

The city is eager to see what developers have in mind for the space.

Officials have talked for years about transforming the property from industrial to commercial uses, but they are open to any ideas, Flanigan said.

The building sits on Main Street, which becomes Highway 51 outside the city limits, near the intersection of highways 51 and 59. The location makes the property attractive, but it has many liabilities, Flanigan said.

“We have made a concerted effort” to redevelop in the city, she said. “It has been a mix. We have saved some great old buildings and seen some go away. At some point, there is a decision to make.”

Reporter - Milton, Edgerton, Albany, Brodhead, Evansville, Footville, Orfordville, health

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