Update: State opens bids for tourism propertyAn investment group led by Hudson businessman David Robson has submitted the highest bid of $1,251,043 for the 16-acre tourism center property on Interstate 94 in Hudson. But the sale of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation property to Hudson Holdings LLC isn’t a done deal yet.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
An investment group led by Hudson businessman David Robson has submitted the highest bid of $1,251,043 for the 16-acre tourism center property on Interstate 94 in Hudson.
But the sale of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation property to Hudson Holdings LLC isn’t a done deal yet.
Anne Giese, real estate specialist for WisDOT’s Northwest District, said last week that Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb would meet with Gov. Scott Walker to discuss whether to accept the bid.
WisDOT had the property appraised at $2,600,000.
Also, the sale won’t proceed if the city of Hudson doesn’t grant the approvals needed for Robson and his partners to develop the property, according to Giese. It currently is zoned for public use.
Giese said the city had expressed interest in acquiring the property for public purposes, but didn’t participate in the bidding for it.
Mayor Alan Burchill confirmed in a Nov. 23 phone call that the city had expressed interest in the property as a possible site for a public safety building.
Burchill said he also thought it would be a good location for a park-and-ride lot and a stop for commuter buses going to the Twin Cities.
He said UW-River Falls has expressed interest in building a new Hudson Center on the site, and indicated that he wouldn’t oppose that plan.
Blake Fry of UW-River Falls in a phone earlier this week characterized the university’s interest in the property as “very, very preliminary.”
Fry is a special assistant to UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen involved in oversight of the Hudson Center. He said his interest the tourism center property was as much about his role with the Gateway Corridor Commission as with university.
Fry is a member of technical committee of the commission that is working on a mass transit plan for the I-94 corridor between Minneapolis and Eau Claire.
Dennis Darnold, the city of Hudson’s community development director, said the city had hoped to convince the state to reopen the tourism center and an old I-94 exit west of the center. The exit was closed when the Carmichael Road interchange opened in the early 1990s.
Darnold said WisDOT wasn’t interested in the proposal.
When asked if the city has any concerns about commercial development of the property, Darnold said any new development would add traffic to an already busy Crest View Drive.
Robson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that his group doesn’t have any specific plans for the property.
“(We) put in a bid because we think it’s in the best interest of Hudson that somebody local is in control of the property rather than somebody from the outside,” Robson was quoted as saying in the Pioneer Press.
WisDOT opened three bids for the former tourist information center on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
KAMI Holdings LLC offered $1,200,000 for the buildings and land. BNA Properties LLC submitted a bid of $554,000.
Burt Nordstrand, president of Hudson-based SSG Corp., is a major partner in BNA Properties. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue lists Scott Nordstrand, SSG’s legal counsel and director of administration, as the registered agent for BNA Properties.
The address given for the limited liability corporation is the same as SSG’s.