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Media Memo: The Confluence Project property purchase finalized

May 23, 2012

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Mike Rindo

DATE: May 23, 2012

SUBJECT: The Confluence Project property purchase finalized

 Confluence Project Aerial Update
Haymarket Concepts LLC finalized the purchase of property for The Confluence Project on Tuesday, May 22. The Confluence Project is a public-private partnership that intends to construct a new community arts center, commercial/retail complex and university student housing at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers in downtown Eau Claire. Based on concept drawings currently available, the estimated cost of the community arts center is $50 million to $55 million, and the current estimated cost of the mixed-use development project is $25 million to $30 million.

The project is planned on property commonly referred to as the "Haymarket Site," consisting of the Farmers Store and Market Square buildings that border the downtown Haymarket parking lot (see attached aerial photo). Expanding the site to include buildings along South Barstow Street to allow for additional commercial space also is being considered. However, no buildings on South Barstow Street were included in the property purchase finalized yesterday.

The Haymarket Site property had been under contract for the past year while development options were being considered. The property was purchased from Reinhart Real Estate of La Crosse.

Haymarket Concepts is a partnership between Commonweal Development Corp., Market & Johnson Inc. and Blugold Real Estate LLC, a subsidiary of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation. To date, no public funds have been expended to purchase property or develop plans for The Confluence Project, including preliminary architectural designs and drawings.

Immediate next steps in the project process include selecting an architect/engineering design team to begin developing more detailed plans; continuing discussions with the city of Eau Claire about making associated public improvements; proceeding with funding requests from the UW System Board of Regents and other public entities; securing philanthropic commitments; engaging the community in public discussions about the possibility of expanding the site to include buildings along South Barstow Street; and consulting with the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, local arts organizations, UW-Eau Claire faculty and others to develop detailed arts facility functions and operating agreements.

For additional information, contact:

Stuart Schaefer, president, Commonweal Development, 715-832-8707

Kimera Way, executive director, UW-Eau Claire Foundation, 715-836-5180

Ben Richgruber, executive director, Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, 715-832-2787

Mike Rindo, assistant chancellor for facilities, UW-Eau Claire, 715-836-4742

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