UPDATE: (3 p.m., Nov. 22, 2011): Three bids came in for the property. The highest bid, which will be submitted to WisDOT officials in Madison came from Hudson Center, LLC for $1.3 million.
KAMI Holding bid $1.2 million and BNA Properties bid $554,000.
Ann Giese, the real estate specialist associated with the property, said three bid was the amount that was expected and the winning bidder will now work with the city to have the area rezoned if needed to complete their development plans.
UPDATE (12:50 p.m., Nov. 3, 2011): According to a public notice in the Hudson Star-Observer, WisDOT plans to open the sealed bids at 10 a.m. on Nov. 22 at WisDOT's Northwest Regional Office in Eau Claire.
The City of Hudson is hoping that the defunct visitor information center on Crestview Drive—adjacent to Carmichael Road—remains a public use facility but officials at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) are touting other plans.
According to WisDOT real estate specialist Anne Giese, the site is being put up for public bid in October, despite the city's preliminary plans to transform the 16-acre eyesore into a public safety facility, park-n-ride or mass transit site.
The information center opened its doors in 1972 and was decommissioned in 2009.
As it stands, the site is owned by WisDOT and can be sold at the discretion of the transportation department. But Hudson community development director Dennis Darnold is hoping for a bit of latitude.
"The City of Hudson feels it would be premature for the state to sell the property for commercial development," Darnold told Patch. "Right now (the site) is zoned for public use and until we exhaust the potential for that use, hopefully, the city would retain the policy that was adopted in 2009 and continue using (the land) for the public."
Darnold points to extensive commercial development surrounding the visitor center as one cause of increased traffic congestion in the area. Retaining the visitor center land for public use would help alleviate that congestion, he explained.
The vacant information center site also plays an integral role in the plans of the Gateway Corridor Commission—a joint committee tasked with planning a mass transit system that will run along I-94 from downtown Minneapolis to Eau Claire.
"While its too early to say what's best for the Hudson community, a great option for the area would be a park-n-ride system," Gateway Corridor Commission project manager Ted Schoenecker said.
In August 2010, the Gateway Corridor Commission released its Alternatives Analysis Study that outlined eight options for the land that sits 3-5 miles on either side of I-94 from Minneapolis to Eau Claire.
Of the seven options that address Wisconsin transit, the Hudson site features prominently in six of them. Only a commuter train would bypass the Carmichael Road area.
While Giese would not speculate on whether a public or private facility would better serve the Hudson community, she does see a role for the municipality.
"Whoever wins the bid, would have to work with the City of Hudson on any rezoning or repurposing of that land," Giese explained. "So the city would continue to play an integral part in its use."
Giese expects to start accepting sealed bids in October and close bidding by the end of November.
Darnold anticipates the visitor center issue to be included in the Hudson City Council's Oct. 3 agenda.