Friday Dudley: April 6, 2007

I actually took this Wednesday night, but it was too good not to post.

Click for Larger Image

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29 responses to “Friday Dudley: April 6, 2007

  1. I’ve taken a few of the Dudley as well.
    Here’s one of my best ones…

    http://fourpointedstar.smugmug.com/gallery/2674319#141572163

  2. This is one of the best photos of Dudley I’ve seen so far, and they’ve all been good. I like the night light, also how you included the ‘urban fabric’ around it. Even the clouds look cool.

    I’m curious–Will this Dudley building be 100% occupied soon?

  3. Fabulous! Any word on any future redevelopment of those Scott Street buildings?

  4. I have not heard anything. I find it amazing that the public plan is not out there in any sort of substantial way.

    Public information is free, and why is it not out there.

    I ask this, should MCDEVCO meeting notices be held under the open meeting rules?

  5. Ironic…this is probably your most beautiful Dudley shot, Bill, but it’s also perhaps the scariest. As Barry pointed out in a previous comment, the tower looks incredibly, oppressively out-of-place here.

  6. The tower looks almost demonic in this photo. Is the roof teal?

  7. …yeah…that dirt patch parking area was simply stunning 3 years ago…

  8. Seems to me that a dirt patch possesses more possibilities than a high-rent office building.

    Who and what are going to be in there, anyway?

  9. Yes you are right about the high rent office building. Wausau could not possibly benefit from the tax revenue that the building will generate. Also the building will not help local restruants and businesses who will cater to the 500 workers that will occupy the building. And it will not set the tone for bringing business to the downtown. Hey lets tear it down, or at least reverse this new trend in wausau. Gerantocracy Unite!!!! We need to stop this.

  10. I’m always curious as to why people think something like this is “out of place”. Charles, Barry or others who feel the same way: Could you please explain why you think that? It’s your opinion, and you have every right to it. I’d like to hear your point of view.

  11. Aren’t most of the tenants moving one or two blocks away from downtown away from where the restruants and stores are?

  12. The fact is, they are moving to a better building. A more modern building with amenities that service them better I believe. The downtown building that your mentioning people abandoning has a top notch staff, and will find tenants lickety split. Top notch staff.

    I do not understand the position that this building is a bad thing either. How does the possibility for more office space equal a problem?

    If we do not have room, the people cannot come, can they?

    I think it is short sighted to think that the “upscale” tenants are going to just leave downtown to become a wasteland that they work in. I think they will in fact drive the businesses they want to the downtown.

    Maybe they invest in the Rogers project, though who knows they might not need outside funding anymore.

    I am glad someone saw fit to do something, anything downtown. Now there are two giant contstruction projects, as well as this street thing outside the mall which pounds all day long while some of us are working.

    I ask then, what should we have instead?

    Compass Properties is driving its tenants out of the downtown apartments it built with alarming frequency. Two are giving notice this month. I guess 900 a month for downtown wausau is too much.

    This, Jim Rosenberg, is why the city needs to communicate better. I am sure there is a plan, but no one, NO ONE, knows it.

    It reminds me of the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, when the Vogons tell Earth that the plans were on display in the third sub-basement bbehind a tree…or whatever.

    Mayor Tipple shoulld hold TOWN HALL MEETINGS.

    Giant meetings of downtown residences, and businesses, and talk, and give handouts, and do powerpoint, and help the local media with materials to print to explain it.

    Or we can act like it doesnt matter. And count on councilmen to get word out to their districts.

    I say it only leads to more apathy, and more disillusionment when you do not try to tell us what is going on.

  13. Yes, it’s possible that the Dudley Tower will promote businesses downtown, but isn’t it also possible that – if successful – the building will help drive up rent prices in the downtown area, thus hampering the growth or even survival of local businesses? I’ve seen this happen in many other communities, where the rise of a centralized “business district” accompanies the loss of local establishments of all kinds, even including restaurants/bars, in favor of an increasingly high-end, increasingly homogenized central core. Since the rejuvenation of downtown is constantly mentioned as a reason for building the Tower, I think it’s a pertinent issue.

    Of course, that probably depends on the nature of the Tower’s occupants. No one has yet answered my question, which I think is key to this whole issue: who/what exactly are the tenants for the Dudley Tower?

  14. I heard Ruder Law Firm, Baird, Miren Construction, Wood Trust, and a few small one and two people offices.

  15. If I’m right, three of those four (everyone except Wood Trust) are already downtown. Am I correct on that?

  16. What do you propose instead?

  17. Charles: Yes, this is what I understand.

  18. There is an effective communications network downtown through the Main Street Program/Business Improvement District, which has a newsletter and many different member-volunteers serving on committees that meet every few weeks. Central Wausau Progress is another channel. We will be having a meeting of Business Improvement District members later this month. A number of people, including me, regularly discuss various city issues with media.

    I don’t think that most people are apathetic about downtown. When I first joined the City Council nine years ago, we had a lot of vacancy and disinvestment. The large projects underway now and the many improvements of the past several years are tangible evidence of the much improved climate for investment. It’s a luxury to be able to muse about the relative level of harmony that a new $20 million building has to its downtown environment, don’t you think? That’s not what we were doing in 1998, I can assure you.

    Everything is not perfect and there are certainly many things that can still be improved upon, but you don’t have to be sick to get better, either. We’ve got good momentum in Wausau — not only downtown, but all over the city. It’s thanks to a lot of positive effort, investment and confidence in the future of Wausau by many people in the private and public sectors.

  19. I love downtown right now. I just wish there was a big sign or something with a pretty picture talking about what is coming.

    An architectural rendering I believe it is called.

    And a dog park.

  20. “I’ve seen this happen in many other communities, where the rise of a centralized “business district” accompanies the loss of local establishments of all kinds, even including restaurants/bars, in favor of an increasingly high-end, increasingly homogenized central core. ”

    Yes…I think all new construction projects should go to Weston or Rib Mountain. Suburbia is the future.

    Go though downtown Green Bay and you’ll think that you’re in a ghost town. Or Eau Claire where the entire city plan looks a suburb of the twin cities. Downtown development is important to cities culturally and economically.

    On a non-sarcastic not I agree with you though that the city should be working with local business to understand what possible changes are going to happen economically to the downtown. Have such studies been done? What is the city doing?

    Also, I do not fully understand the issues associated with the Scott Street pub and other businesses in that district. Is there any place I can go online, or somone who can enlighten me as I am not currently living in wausau

  21. I will jump in a little bit on this one. The Scott Street Pub is the oldest music venue in Wisconsin to survive with a single owner. It has hosted everyone of the legendary blues musicians, even the great BB King sat on the stage on a night off. Though he did not recall it, his longtime valet found it in the journals.

    Where venues like Shank Hall or Luthers Blues have had multiple owners, Scott Street Pub has been owned by Tom Bergs for nearly thirty years.

    He has hosted live muisc on the stage an average of 3 nights a week for this time.

    Many people feel a direct connection to the Pub, and as such the pending development of that block is met with an amazing set of emotional responses.

    I personally might have more than most dedicated to both Tom and the Pub, it being my home for nearly a decade on and off.

    Scott Street Pub was the birthplace of Big Bull Falls Blues Festival, the longest running continuous blues festival in the midwest, both Madison and Chicago taking breaks, though I am not sure about Chicago.

    Scott Street is the birthplace of the Great Northern Blues Society, nearly 1000 members strong one of the more shall we say dynamic Blues Societies in America.

    Scott Street supported the careers of four Wisconsin blues icons in Westside Andy, Otis McLennon, Howard Luedtke, and Reverand Raven. When the cycle led other clubs to compress their musical ventures The Pub maintained.

    In many cities a commitment by one man, to a communities culture would lead to accolades similar to the owner of Last Coast Productions in Madison, or Jack Koshick in Milwaukee, or a community based renewal idea like the Save Maxwell Street project in Chicago.

    Tom is a bit surly, so it appears that might not happen.

    The other businesses, well, who knows.

  22. I would make a couple of arguments about the building’s aesthetics:

    The first argument that I would make is that the space could have been put to civic rather than commercial use. The Dudley Building has usurped one of the most impressive natural areas in Wausau – right on the river, adjacent to the downtown. Rather than a park or other civic good (like a library) now we have a 10 story building. A large commercial site here will create unintended consequences such as traffic congestion, rent instability, and demolition of nearby historical landmarks (ie., the Scott Street Pub). I would hope that those who profit from the businesses in the building would seek to enhance the nearby environment, but that’s not a given. Are there even plans to finish the riverwalk?

    As I’ve argued before the building dominates the view from all sides. It dwarfs everything around it and depending on the perspective blocks the view of a) the river, b) the city or c) superior constructions (like the church).

    The Building was not an act of philanthropy and should not be confused as one. Please contrast the Dudley Building with the generous gift to the community by the late Robert Monk…the multi-acre Monk Botanical Garden will greatly enhance the quality of life in the area.

    I don’t subscribe to the idea that private business of necessity profits the community as a whole. We just have to look to the St. Clare’s/Marshfield Clinic/Aspirus fiasco to understand this assertion as false.

    cheers,
    Barry

  23. to me.. quality of life includes things like parks, police protection, fire protection etc. The latter of those two are insanely expensive, often accounting for 30-35% of the total budget of a city.

    So.. instead of the Dudley building contribuing a large amount to the tax rolls helping provide those services that we need…. we instead have yet another non-tax revenue use that will not require further tax funds to support when we barely have the tax funds to support other public uses.

    There needs to be balance….. I will state that… but.. Wausau has a problem being the county seat, there are alot of high dollar properties off the tax roll that are occupied by the county government. And those beautiful downtown churches.. also do not add to the property tax base. So, it is fitting that development is being encouraged (and commenced) that DOES add to the property tax base.

  24. I read that three times John, and am left with

    Huh?

  25. I think these are reasonable quality of life indicators:

    http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/QUALITY_OF_LIFE.pdf

    As this study suggests, overall the American quality of life has deteriotated significantly over the last decade. Further, Wisconsinites’ overall quality of life has diminished even more significantly. I am going to cross-post this to other discussion, as well.

    cheers,
    Barry

  26. I didn’t see anything on the article that points to Wisconsin specifically.. but I just skimmed it.

    It would be good to know though how the various variables look at first the City of Wausau over the last 10 years.. and then the Wausau MSA over the last 10 years.

    I would say that wausau’s quality of life has improved thanks to balance.

    Wausau has alot of high value property that are property tax exempt, and they have started to put more though into tax exempt uses versus taxable uses. Does the tax exempt use increase sorrounding property values over time to make up the difference? By looking at things that way, it has lead to a more balanced economic development plan.

  27. Why are they property tax exempt?

  28. properties that are owned by tax exempt organizations are also exempt from property taxes. Whether or not tax exempt should include property taxes could be a good issue for a post?)

    So… churches, and buildings owned by non-profits (such as the human society) are off the tax rolls. In Wausau, all of the county buildings such as the jail, court house, county shop, etc. are also tax exempt.

    Sometimes these agencies negotiate PILOT payments with the city to cover basic services (PILOT = Payment In Leau of Taxes – I believe many of the CDA properties pay PILOT payments) but there is no PILOT requirement that I am aware of.

  29. The poverty data in Wisconsin is not pretty:

    http://www.wccf.org/pdf/Census_Poverty_PR083005.pdf

    Look on the bright side…we have responded by cutting access to higher education…

    cheers, Barry

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