A deal to turn a former Eau Claire fire station into new production studios and offices for the local public access TV and radio stations has fallen through, according to the city.
Valley Media Works signed an agreement in autumn to buy the former Fire Station No. 10, 559 N. Hastings Way, for $365,000 but has been unable to raise funds to complete the purchase in time.
The deal signed in October by the City Council gave Valley Media Works until Dec. 31 to close the sale, but the organization then sought a three-month extension to seek private funding.
“Public Access Center, Inc. has now indicated they are unable to purchase the property based on the original purchase agreement,” stated a city memo.
On Tuesday the City Council will consider the putting the property back out for new proposals.
When it sought proposals last year, the city had gotten two offers for the property. Valley Media Works proposed to buy the property for $365,000 — the city’s asking price based on an appraisal. A different proposal offered to pay $221,000 with the intent of using most of the building to house a service business and sleeping quarters in the upstairs level.
The former fire station sits on the southeast corner of the intersection of North Hastings Way and Birch Street near an auto shop, Dairy Queen and RCU office.
As part of the deal with Valley Media Works, the City Council agreed in November to change the property’s zoning from public to commercial land.
The fire station was vacated in mid-2018 when the city’s new Fire Station No. 10 opened at 820 Malden Ave.
Also on next week’s council agendas:
• A public hearing will be Monday night on the proposed budget for about $850,000 in grant money the city will get this year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The city is planning to use its allocation of Community Development Block Grant and HOME program funding for a variety of efforts including housing code enforcement, aid to homeowners for housing rehabilitation projects, rental assistance and services provided by several nonprofit organizations.
• Rezoning 12.6 acres of vacant land off Seymour Road for a few single-family home lots will be subject to a public hearing Monday night before the council votes on it Tuesday. A survey map with the rezoning application shows lots for two homes off an extension of Essex Street would be created and another lot would be along Seymour Road. The remaining land is on hilly terrain and is shown as an outlot on the plans, indicating it is not currently slated for development.
• Sculpture Tour Eau Claire is donating three pieces of art to the city for permanent display on downtown public property, which the council is poised to accept on Tuesday.
• The city’s Community Services Department is seeking the council’s permission to apply for state Department of Natural Resources grants to help pay for recreational trail and parks improvement projects.
• The council is slated to accept about $2 million in state grants to buy three hybrid buses, which will replace a trio of diesel buses that have been in service since 2001. The city got approval last year for the grant money, which came from car maker Volkswagen’s settlement with the state for the company’s emissions cheating scandal.