RACINE – State and Main, one of the biggest building blocks in Downtown’s revival, is zooming toward the end of construction and is a month away from its first tenants.
The $19.7 million project occupies the formerly vacant northeast corner of State and Main streets. In the Downtown revitalization plan, that was one of the three critical corners, or anchor sites, identified for major new developments.
What has taken shape there is a rare combination of new retail space, apartments and condominiums. That combination of uses is a rarity in the Midwest, and not at all common even on the coasts, said Wisconsin Market President Chris Laurent of Madison-based Gorman & Co.
“Others have done affordable apartments and retail, but the retail usually is on a very small scale,” he said.
And some are mixing condos and apartments – but not very often. State and Main creates 84 new apartments and 23 condos. The apartments will be restricted to people age 55 or older and marketed to the more active citizens of that type, the so-called zoomers.
Zoomers are helping to invigorate downtowns in some U.S. cities, and Gorman thought Racine’s Downtown was a good place to try that.
Downtown Racine Corp. Executive Director Devin Sutherland is high on State and Main and believes in the zoomer theory of urban renewal. They could be young retirees who just no longer want to mow the lawn, paint the house or clean the gutters, he said.
Sutherland also likes the design, which he called “excellent. It’s built to the property line instead of setting it back. That helps maintain more of a pedestrian environment.”
As for the interior, “it’s fantastic,” he said. “They’re just spectacular units, and people are very excited about them.”
So far, said State and Main Building Manager Jeremy Panczenko, the apartments have a list of about 90 interested people and a waiting list of about 10 who have made an application and paid a deposit. The company is showing a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom model. Residents will begin moving in July 1.
The company is receiving about 25 calls per day, Panczenko said.
On the condo side, a model also is open. Two condos are sold and four more are reserved, Laurent said.
First of its kind
State and Main is Gorman’s third major project in Downtown Racine and first with all-new construction.
“Racine, for a community of its size, is very accessible,” Laurent said. “They approach a business in a sense that business people like to be approached.”
Gorman & Co.’s two previous Racine ventures included:
- The conversion of the vacant Olson Auto Supply building at 134 Main St. to 78 loft-style apartments. The Belle Harbor Loft Apartments at the same address included some new construction and some renovation.
- The $14.8 million Mitchell Wagon Factory, 815 Eighth St. It turned a cold-storage warehouse into loft-style apartments geared and marketed especially to artists.
The four-story State and Main’s first floor contains about 16,500 square feet of retail space. That’s enough space for about six shops.
So far, that retail space has gone unleased; the broker involved said there are currently two prospects. Sutherland said he wasn’t worried about it getting filled, in time.
Laurent said the building’s amenities set it apart from many other condo options. They include a movie theater, exercise room, computer/Internet room, underground parking, interior courtyard and club room.
Condo prices vary, but generally hover around $180,000 for one bedroom and $220,000 for two.
Laurent said the State and Main package compares favorably with other condo options, typically scattered around the edges of the city, with fewer amenities and the constant need for auto travel.
A market-rate apartment runs $835 per month for one bedroom and $975 for two bedrooms. But four-fifths of the apartments cost less for those who qualify by income.
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