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  Wednesday April 16th, 2014    

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Condo sold; more on the way? (09/22/2013)
By Chris Rogers

At the foot of Washington Street, the suspenseful saga of Winona’s downtown condominium seems to have come to a resolution: sold. The adjacent Tri-Mac Lumber property could be home to new condos or, perhaps, a hotel, buyers said. Developers Richard Huber and Allan McCormick of La Crescent struck a deal last week to purchase the condominium formerly owned by Dave McNally. Rivers Edge, as the partners have dubbed their new property, will be finished as a condominium. Tri-Mac Lumber is slated for demolition and Huber and McCormick said they may build two more condos on the shared lot or sell the property.

Once Tri-Mac is demolished, “that lot is so big, it’s like a blank canvas,” McCormick said. Huber pointed out that the lot extends to the bridge. “You can see where there could be room for another two buildings and parking in here.”

We have got “a lot of ideas” for the space, McCormick said. “A lot of people think it should be a hotel. We’re not going to put a hotel there but we might sell it to someone who would. Otherwise, we’ll maybe build a condo unit like this one.”

Huber and McCormick plan to sell their units for $250,000 to $350,000. They declined to discuss the price they paid for the building. The price is misleadingly low, McCormick said, because there is still a lot of work to be done on the building. Since the transfer has yet to be finalized at the Winona County Recorder’s Office, the price has not been made public.

“There would be a kitchen there and a master bath here,” Huber said, pointing to an already installed Whirlpool tub in a framed-in, top-floor unit. “Being able to watch the barges go by without getting out of bed would really be something.”

It is a great location in the middle of downtown with views of the river on one side and the courthouse on the other, the developers noted. That, combined with a rebounding economy, means that “the stars are just lined up to make this a really desirable place to live,” McCormick commented.

“We are really excited about this,” McCormick continued. “The timing is better now than when Mr. McNally started the project. He did a phenomenal job.”

The building is close to completion, McCormick and Huber said, and they do not plan to change much: a new finish outside and enlarging some units inside.

Huber said they are working with an architect for the exterior design and may take inspiration from a condo in Wabasha near the bridge, which features stonework, columns, and siding. “Maybe stone columns — something to make it more visually interesting,” McCormick said of plans for exterior. “It’s important.”

In an unusual arrangement, the seller, River Bank of La Crosse, has agreed to finance the first buyers of the condo at 3.75 percent, McCormick said. Typically, banks will not finance condo sales until half of the units are sold, Huber explained. River Bank’s offer, McCormick said, is “phenomenal financing.”

Following a rezoning request from McNally, the city of Winona created a special zone with fewer rules for the area in hopes of spurring redevelopment. After McNally’s plans were stalled by financial woes and it seemed as though the property might be converted into high-density housing, the city enacted an emergency moratorium while they added parking and density restrictions to the special zone. 

 

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