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Developing Racine’s riverfront: $65 million commercial-residential project announced

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RACINE (WITI) -- Racine officials hope to bring high-end development to the riverfront. In a plan announced on Tuesday, June 10th -- Racine officials say they hope to capitalize on an asset that has been under-utilized for a very long time.

Racine business, government and community leaders endured light sprinkles on Tuesday to gather in an area dubbed "Machinery Row."

Racine's "Machinery Row"

Racine's "Machinery Row"

"The river was something that had separated the city in the past and now it was time to bring us all back together," Racine Mayor John Dickert said.

The idle former manufacturing Water Street property encompasses about 20 acres along the Root River.

"When you look at other communities that are successful -- many of them on the Great Lakes, many of them on big rivers, they invest in their riverfront and it's a great asset to the community economically," Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) said.

"Machinery Row" is part of a much larger RootWorks development plan for the city -- but it starts with Machinery Row.

Machinery Row plan

Financial District Properties -- or FDP out of Davenport, Iowa is the developer that wants to make it happen.

"I have never seen a community working this hard and this united to get this accomplished. I mean, they're running faster than we are," FDP Founder Rodney Blackwell said.

The estimated $65 million public/private investment has many steps before the site becomes a grocery store, apartments, retail space -- and more.

"Those are asbestos panels on both those buildings, so the environmental could take quite awhile," Blackwell said.

With that said, the projected occupancy is anticipated for the Fall of 2015.

"This will be the first time since about 1910 that the public was able to get access to the site," Mayor Dickert said.

Blackwell says the next 90 days should be exciting -- with the purchase of the property. Construction should begin in about six months.

FDP is already pre-leasing space for the "Machinery Row" site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the project