Right now it's a run down Goliath of a structure surrounded by dilapidated buildings and concrete, but the plan is to turn the Rawleigh complex into Freeport's gem, a work, play and live complex surrounded by 12 blocks of parks.
"With the residential component, adding the green space around so it has more of a neighborhood feel has been really important. Plus, having it be a destination with some outdoor entertainment and concert space, those things are really important, so it really is a live, work, play type of environment, not just the housing or just the retail or just the office," says Shelly Griswold, project manager for the Rawleigh complex.
On Tuesday, city leaders and developer Lakeshore Investors held a status meeting to discuss financing for the complex. Both sides are working to hammer out a redevelopment agreement.
"What some people fail to see, it's not a one time shot that we're going to get all this year. It's a long-term project, probably 7-10 years, that we're going to continue to get funding from the federal government," says Freeport Mayor George Gaulrapp.
The city will be responsible for the park projects estimated to cost between $10 and $12 million, but no general city funds will be used. State and federal grants, as well as money generated from the Tif district, would be utilized.
All the money generated out of this project will go back into the project; a certain percentage to the developer, and a percentage would be returned by city to pay for costs of parks and maintenance," says Gaulrapp.
Mayor George Gaulrapp says a Freeport healthcare provider is interested in occupying space, and a Wisconsin restaurant is also eyeing the building. 450 new jobs could be created in the combined 450,000 square foot complex.
The city and developer will meet again in two weeks to set timelines. A redevelopment agreement is supposed to be brought before the city council in July, but the mayor says they might need an extension to get all the details ironed out.