.

UPDATE: Vacant Info Center Site Got Three Bids

WisDOT solicited bids for the 16-acre site. Top bid was Hudson Center, LLC for about $1.3 million.

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.

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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.

Read the public notice

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The 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.

Thurston Howell III September 28, 2011 at 11:58 AM
Who needs to promote Tourism? This property would be an excellent location for an assault weapons shop!
Mark Felton September 28, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Commuter train!? We need to NOT have a butt-ugly eyesore bringing Minnesota's urban problems, to Hudson! If you want to live in the city, move there!
Micheal Foley September 28, 2011 at 02:18 PM
As I understand it, commuter rail is only included in one (Option 7: http://thegatewaycorridor.com/documents/Route-options/July-2011/revmap8-alt7.pdf) of the eight options that the Gateway Corridor Commission has set forth. They are proposing for that station to be near County U and Highway 12. The rail would stretch from Minneapolis to Eau Claire. But that's just one of the eight options. All the options except the "no-build" option include using the Tourism Center property as some sort of park-n-ride for mass transit buses or light rail. Here's a story we did on it: http://patch.com/A-kxfW Anyone can send their feedback to gatewaycorridor@gmail.com.
Bob Simmons September 28, 2011 at 03:22 PM
A commuter train/rail would be terrific! Chicago is a great example. From the North side of the City, just below the WI/IL border you can get downtown at a very reasonable time/cost and it cuts down on road traffic in a major way. It's also heavily used for major sporting events, theater and concerts - a safe way to get to & from w/out driving for those who have a few.
Hudsoner September 28, 2011 at 04:55 PM
And all the Semi Trucks on this road are beauties? Last reports that I heard, the light rail in the cities by far exceeds expected ridership! You forget in your "if you don't like it" discussion killer that many people from Hudson work in the cities!
ThingsThatMakeYouGo-Hmmmm October 18, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Mark, where does your income come from? If you are like most residents, you obtain your income either from 'the city,' or through local businesses that sell to those from 'the city,' or obtained through taxes from those who work in 'the city.' The sad fact is, we are financially depending upon 'the city,' effectively functioning as a bedroom community for commuters. Unfortunately, city planning efforts do not include sufficient independence of our community, from a financial and business perspective. Sustainable community efforts should be addressed with a more open mind, included within the triple bottom line of sustainable plans are the *financial* component of being financially independent within our watershed - not just *environmental* and *social* planning to retain our rural nature.
Agave Kitchen Paul Rode November 03, 2011 at 06:15 PM
I don't think it would. To close to 94 and for one to be a successful shop you would need an underground shooting range of about 100 yards. I think the industrial park has great options though.
mainstreet November 03, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Sell it so someone can develop it and turn it into tax revenue producing property.
Micheal Foley May 16, 2012 at 02:31 AM
KSTP just did a segment about this: http://kstp.com/news/stories/S2619533.shtml

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