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Former River Falls Motel site may become multifamily housing project

Falcon News Service

December 11, 2019

The former site of the old River Falls Motel, 1300 S. Main St., has remained vacant since it was torn down in December 2016. But it may soon become a new apartment project, according to a city official and the developer.

“There is a multifamily development proposed for that site, around 50-unit,” said Brandy Howe, River Falls senior city planner. “It is going to be on the next planning commission agenda for Jan. 7.”

Gerrard Corporation, based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, has proposed the development and could begin construction in the spring. Gerrard has developments and management contracts in several states across the Midwest, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota. In River Falls, it developed the University Falls apartments at 205 and 215 W. Cascade Ave.

“The property will be a 50-unit, it will be for one-, two- and three-bedroom units,” said Paul Gerrard, vice president of Gerrard Corporation. “There will be approximately 90 parking stalls underneath the building. Right now we are in design. We have secured all the financing. We are trying to get to a zero utility and fossil fuels, so in other words, we are trying to load that thing up with solar panels and geothermal heat.”

Gerrard provided some details on features of what each housing unit would have.

“We will feature in-floor heat,” he said. “Every apartment will include everything you can imagine: stove, dishwasher, garbage disposal, microwave, ceiling fans, blinds, walkability to downtown, washer and dryer, in-unit pantries, walk-in closets. I mean, you name it, it has it.”

According to Gerrard, the housing project would also be owned and operated by West CAP, a non-profit community action agency based in Glenwood City, Wisconsin. West CAP is known for helping to develop social and economic benefits for low-income families throughout the western Wisconsin.

Gerrard Corporation will also be purchasing the land for the development of the housing project. The site is currently owned by Bonnie L. Anderson. The property is listed as 1.6 acres in size and has a market value of $189,000, according to Pierce County tax records.

“The plans are being drawn right now,” said Gerrard. “We hope to get out to the builders exchange in January, collect bids at the end of February, and have an April construction start. The project will take approximately 13 months, so it will be completed in May of 2021.”

The former motel site has recently been used as an impromptu used car lot.