NEW RICHMOND -- A work session proved productive for New Richmond City Council members as they approved the city's first industrial land policy, issued a request for qualifications for the former Dairy Queen property, repealed the city’s CBD ordinance, officially recognized the mayor’s authority to appoint a city clerk and then officially appointed Michelle Scanlan to that position.

Cedar Corporation consultant Seth Hudson provided council members with background on how much land might be available for industrial development, how much market demand there is for such land, the different ways that land might be prepared and managed financially.

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“There are about 3,500 acres or 576 parcels of industrial land within the area we looked at. We studied New Richmond, Hudson, River Falls, Baldwin, Hammond, Roberts, Somerset and Woodville. We kept it in that north side of the interstate quadrant. Out of that number, there are 731 acres of publicly owned, 2798 of privately owned, 2,100 acres that are developed and 1,400 that are undeveloped. The average parcel size is 6.13 acres, so they are on the smaller size. There is not a lot of large industrial land either publicly or privately controlled in the region,” Hudson said.

He noted that companies conducting searches across the Midwest or at least statewide in Wisconsin are typically looking for parcels 25 acres and larger.

One of the larger challenges is to persuade Twin Cities area companies to look to the east across the river for land as opposed to the current trend to look to the west.

Hudson went on to describe the process and value of certifying land, how property can be made “shovel ready” and different takes on when and whether municipalities should purchase land outright or consider other financial arrangements with land owners.

“It’s a great document because it’s allowing you the flexibility depending on where you decide to make your investments. There was a period of time where communities went out and bought a bunch of land and put a bunch of infrastructure in and then a very large company came to town and everything had to get moved. They had to rip up the road because it was in the wrong location. It worked out well for them at the end, but they also bought it and the economy tanked and they had to sit and wait. That happens. A policy that gives you flexibility, that isn’t just about purchasing, that considers options like first right of refusal or other options, that’s good policy,” Hudson said.

A copy of the new Industrial Land Policy can be found at document/14555/IndustrialLandPolicy.pdf

Proposals for the former Dairy Queen property will be accepted until April 20, 2020. See the RFQ at newrichmondwi.gov.