By Roger Pitt
October 22, 2004
Kaukauna Utilities Commission selected a Kansas City firm recently as the developer of the John Street property along the Fox River in Appleton.
The commission authorized general manager Jeff Feldt to negotiate a purchase and sale agreement with Brownfield Solutions Group, one of several firms the commission had interviewed about buying the former hydro power generating site. The site is west of Telulah Park beneath the College Avenue bridge.
“We believe Brownfield has a record in remediation of contaminated sites and restoring them to a beneficial use that is to the advantage of the utility and the city,” Feldt said. “The selection was more than monetary because the utility is concerned about a good, clean environment.”
Larry Lundine, managing director of Brownfield, told The Post-Crescent by phone that no decision has been made on the type of development for the site.
“I love it, it is such a spectacular site,” Lundine said. “There is so much potential it will be difficult to decide what to do with it.”
He said the company has built many mixed-use developments that include commercial, multifamily and single-family uses.
“We are eager to work with Brownfield Solutions in developing a project for the site,” said Peter Hensler, Appleton’s director of economic development. “We will be discussing concepts, not specifics, for the project.”
“It is a beautiful parcel that is going to really add to the ambience of the river development,” Hensler said. “It will be 15 acres of quality development that will blend into the area.”
Lundine said the type of development will be the result of consulting with local officials and a local developer. “We want to get a local developer involved in the project,” he said.
Hensler said the city will help in planning development of the area according to the conceptual plan for the river shoreline and the city’s long-range plans. Those plans include residential development, extending the River Walk Trail to Telulah Park and public access to the river for that site.
“There could be some commercial development but it would be compatible to the residential component,” Hensler said. “The site is not really conducive to commercial use because the access for traffic is limited.”
Feldt can see using the John Street power station as a possible restaurant or other business.
“It is a unique, historic building with a lot of character and old wooden beams,” he said.
Feldt said Kaukauna Utilities will remain part of the project until the development is completed. “It will be of more value to the utility and we will be part of the cleanup process,” he said.
Lundine said Brownfield Solutions is unique because it blends two disciplines that often have similar goals but can’t get a big project completed.
He said it combines the expertise of Arcadis, one of the largest remediation firms, and DTJ Design, a master planning and architectural, both Colorado companies that specialize in cleaning and developing sites.