By Charles Collier, The Denmark News
Less than one year after purchasing land near the I-43/HWY 96 interchange, the village of Denmark on Friday accepted an offer to purchase from Kwik Trip, Inc.
“Things like this don’t happen overnight,” village president Greg Mleziva told The Denmark News after the village board unanimously accepted the offer.
Currently occupied by the former home of the late-Frank Wood’s printing presses, the village in November purchased 9.3 acres on Bohemia Dr. for $925K, though the direct cost to village taxpayers was blunted as $113K of excess stadium tax funds received from Brown County in 2016 were deployed for the purchase.
“For years it’s been sitting there with no return to the village,” Mleziva said, “We still need to see the site layout and go through the process, but this is a good first step forward in developing by the interstate.”
Kwik Trip’s offer to purchase the northernmost 4.5 acres of the property returns nearly two-thirds of the village’s investment.
Mleziva said parties have been inquiring on the space, “since day one,” and the first face-to-face meeting with Kwik Trip representatives took place last December.
Two criteria have so-far guided the village in seeking and negotiating further economic development: adding to the municipal tax base and drawing people off the Interstate and into the village.
“Kwik Trip has a great reputation among travelers…this alone could bring in more interest for building in Denmark,” Mlezvia said.
The announcement is the first developmental success on a large swath of village-owned land near the interstate and the second announcement of a well-known retailer coming to the village in under two years.
Two remaining parcels adjoin the proposed Kwik Trip site, though the village president declined to comment on ongoing negotiations for their development.
In reference to apparent competition the store would present to Village Mart, an existing gas station with various food options a tenth-of-a-mile from the interchange, Mleziva said, “We openly marketed the property since it was bought and the process was open to anybody and everybody,” adding that most of the several parties who expressed interest included some sort of gas station.
“Nobody went into this thinking there’d be dire consequences for anybody. This is good for the village and it’s good for Kwik Trip,” Mleziva said.
Kwik Trip would immediately add value to the village tax roll as the board in winter voted to close a 25-year-old tax incremental financing district.
Tammy Smits-Sommer owns and operates Blossoms, a café, cheese distributor, boutique and flower shop across the street from the potential Kwik Trip site. For her, the announcement is a host for optimism.
“We are happy to welcome any new business in town. It will be great to have a neighbor again. It is exciting to work with a strong Wisconsin company and hopefully it will bring in more businesses to our community,” Smits-Sommer said.
Though economically exciting, the sale will not be closed for another 180 days. The agreement provides financial protection to village coffers should Kwik Trip re-think their decision and all physical development is subject to village board approval.