City of Whitewater Tentatively Approves Sale of Land for Potential Dollar General; Seeks “Upgraded Design”

By Al Stanek
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff

The City of Whitewater has entered into a tentative land sale that is likely to result in a new retail operation on the east side. Negotiations are underway between the Common Council and developer Midwest WI, LLC (“Midwest”) for the sale that would set in motion the planning process for a proposed Dollar General store.

Following a closed session on June 15 the Common Council voted unanimously to authorize the sale of a 1.92 acre parcel at the roundabout where East Milwaukee Street turns into Elkhorn Road to Midwest WI, LLC (“Midwest”) for $251,000. The potential use of the site was not indicated; however, it was indicated that “a Developer’s Agreement will be negotiated and will be forthcoming.”

On August 3 the area was included in a Tax Incremental Tax District (TID) which could allow for development incentives and public infrastructure improvements. A nearby parcel is currently under development for one of two Kwik Trip stores targeted for opening this winter.

The planned use of the Midwest parcel was disclosed as the Common Council returned from closed session on August 17, when it was indicated that the developer intends to construct a building that would be occupied by Dollar General (“DG.”) The agenda indicated that the closed session was for the purpose of discussion of the terms of a Development Agreement with Midwest, and Jim Allen, speaking on behalf of the Council, stated that negotiations were continuing with focus on an “upgraded design” for the DG building. Allen indicated that the agreed upon sale price was the appraised value. No further information was provided, but per national media reports, including this article in the Orlando Sentinel, for a number of years some municipalities have been expecting “dollar stores” to provide upgraded designs rather than what have often been seen as “unattractive buildings.”

The Dollar General homepage describes their operation as “offering products that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, housewares and seasonal items at everyday low prices in convenient neighborhood locations.” The site reports that, “Dollar General operated 17,426 stores in 46 states as of April 30, 2021.” According to a March, 2021 article in Construction Dive, the Tennessee-based company “is in the midst of an expansion effort that calls for the addition of 1,050 stores this year, and sees room to double the size of its existing fleet of stores in the future.” Stores have recently opened in nearby Tibbets and Eagle. Palmyra Village Clerk-Treasurer Laurie Mueller told ‘the Banner’ that a developer other than Midwest has proposed to construct a DG in their community, but this week the Board of Zoning Appeals voted to deny a request to reduce the required parking by six spaces. Mueller indicated that she did not know whether DG would still be pursuing the project.

No timeline for construction has been specified.

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