October 8, 2009

City considering moratorium on development around potential commuter rail station

The city is shutting down development around its potential commuter rail train station until the state makes a final decision on KRM.

That was bad news Wednesday evening for Racine-based developer Brent Oglesby, who was hoping to build a residential and commercial development across from Racine's possible KRM station. He appeared before the city's Redevelopment Authority to request an option to buy RDA-owned on State Street. The response he heard from the RDA: We're not selling.

The authority, which is the legal owner of the land Oglesby was seeking, voted 4-2 against giving him the option he needed to pursue his development. The RDA then voted 4-2 to "receive and file" Oglesby's proposal, which essentially means it's dead.

Pete Karas and Scott Terry voted in support of Oglesby. John Crimmings, Jim Spangenberg, David Lange and Robert Ledvina voted against.

John Crimmings, chairman of the RDA, said the authority literally wasn't selling the land. It had no broker for the property, did not issue a request for proposal and had done no research in recent years on the land's value. Instead, the RDA planned to hold the property until KRM is sorted out, one way or another, on the state level.

Crimmings and others intimated they would also seek a 12-month moratorium on development around State Street's Racine Transit Center, which is the potential home for a commuter rail stop. It was actually motioned to vote on the moratorium Wednesday night, but Karas noted the idea wasn't on the meeting agenda. The RDA will likely take up the issue in November.

The moratorium was needed to prevent a flood of developers (like Oglesby) from trying to buy up land around the commuter rail station, Crimmings said.

Karas responded by asking if the city was really concerned a flood of developers would descend on Racine. The comment drew a laugh from the audience, but gained no traction for Oglesby's project.

The RDA's vote is the end of the road, at least for now, of Oglesby's $6.6 million project, which included a statue honoring Corinne Owens, Racine's legendary civil rights activist. While Oglesby's project is done, for now, Mayor John Dickert announced this week no matter what is built on State Street it will include a section honoring Owens.


  1. Stupid. Pete Karas was right "These people are worked about -"too many developers".

    Its BS

  2. Oglesby's $6.6 million project while interesting and I think a conflict of interest would do all the things that Tom's 5 million project in West Racine would do and in an area that could use a nice project.
    Now what is the biggest difference between the two? A bit more money.... The skin color who backed who for Mayor...
    Boy Racine is an interesting place to live

  3. I hear TT has big MO behind it and I anit meaning momentum.

  4. No more choo choo?

  5. Milwaukee Developer10/08/2009 4:14 PM

    The way Brent Ogelsby was treated last night was disgusting. Racine lost a great project last night.

  6. Mr. Oglesby,

    Please do not give up youe quest to operate and grow a viable business in Racine! Young intellegent, men such as yourself, are a commodity that this city so desperatly needs. I have heard you speek in past years and have a great deal of respect for you.

    It is shameful to hear an appointed commisioner interupted you during a very well planned and presented, presentation. I was not at the RDA meeting last night, but was told by someone in attendence, how the lack luster group of meaningless appointees had interupted you and were seamingly uninterested in what you had to offer.

    One day Mr. Oglesby, those that lack your intellegence will realize that they are no longer a group that has any relevence.

  7. I have met Brent also and agree he is highly intelligent, poised, and prepared. Very impressive.

    I agree, though, that the RDA did the right thing last night. Brent was asking to buy a property whose value is in question, highly likely to go through the roof when KRM is approved, and currently is not being marketed for sale.

    I applaud Brent's aggressiveness and certainly think he will get first "dibs" but in the long run, the Authority will gain higher values by waiting.

  8. Note

    KRM is dead dead dead.

  9. This is conclusive proof that the KRM is already stifling business!

  10. Come on people lets get the choo choo going, We really need some real money in this town... if we can't get more companies here at least we will get turist to the area from places where is more money... Milwaukee and Chicago, property value should go up and the goverment will get their fair share with property taxes... it's all about the $.