LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – This K-Mart site has been abandoned for years, and Three-Sixty Real Estate Solutions has wanted to turn the area into apartments since July 2022. However, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Three-Sixty asking the city of La Crosse to delay the development, which was approved Monday by the City Plan Commission. Three Sixty Director of Development, Jeremy Novak, explains, “Due to a variety of factors out of our control, we weren’t able to get started in 2022, primarily interest rates and construction costs and supply chain issues.”
Those issues are still present and Three-Sixty doesn’t see a purpose in starting demolition when there are still plenty of financial hurdles to go over. Novak adds, “It really doesn’t make sense, from a financial standpoint and from a construction standpoint, to begin demolition of a property if we’re not able to continue to move forward with that. And so, it’s really tied into our construction financing, tied into the overall project cost and the site work. We have underground parking that’s proposed there and so if we’re going to go in and do a demolition of the building and site work, we really want to make sure that we’re moving forward on that whole path. And so that’s the reason that we haven’t moved forward on demolition of the building.”
Even though the project continues to be moved into the future, Three-Sixty says there is still plenty of motivation to get it completed. Novak says, “There’s probably nobody more motivated to do something here than we are. We think this is a great project. If we didn’t want to do the project we wouldn’t have even started down the path. I think there’s an approach that we have to take and we’ve said this from day one, it’s more important to get the project right than to do it quickly and get it done. And projects of this scope and scale and this size, they take time to make sure that all the pieces are in place and have a more judicious and conservative approach to ensure that it’s successful long term because we only get one chance to do this right. We want to make sure it’s done properly.”
Three Sixty expects to break ground on the project in 2024. While she wasn’t available for an interview, city council member, Jennifer Trost, says she is anxious to have the development move forward because there is a critical need for housing of all types in the city and in every part of the city.
The city’s Judiciary and Administration Committee will have the next vote on the construction delay before it goes before the City Council.