By Clint Wolf - October 31st 2023
The South Beloit City Council on Monday approved making an offer to buy a building on Gardner Street and council members hope the building could one day become the new city hall and municipal building.
The council discussed making an offer on the building at 449 Gardner St., which currently is owned by Regal Rexnord. The building formerly housed other businesses such as Warner Electric Clutch and Brake, and Altra.
The building size is listed at 115,263 square feet and the proposed price listed by the company is $1,728,945.
Mayor Tom Fitzgerald, public property Commissioner Courtney Prentice and City Administrator Sonya Hoppes have had opportunities to tour the facility. All three said the building was very nice.
The city council also on Monday approved an agreement with the Fehr Graham Engineering firm to perform a Phase 1 environmental site assessment of the property if the city is successful in purchasing the building.
Hoppes said the current city hall at 519 Blackhawk Blvd., which also houses the South Beloit Police Department, no longer has the space needed for the current staff. She said if the city were to purchase the building at 449 Gardner St., it would not only have ample room for city hall staff and police department staff, but it could potentially house the street department and serve as a new public library.
“In the long term, we could have all departments under one roof and maintain one building rather that maintain several aging buildings,” Hoppes said.
South Beloit voters were asked to approve a $4.9 million bond referendum in March of 2018 for a combination new library and city hall. The new facility was planned to be built near the Nature at the Confluence site. Voters did not approved the referendum.
City Attorney Aaron Szeto said it might take a while for the company to respond to the city’s offer. He added that it is not uncommon for a corporate entity to reject the first offer, and the city officials should not be discouraged if that happens.
Regal Rexnord, formerly Regal Beloit, produces electric motors and power transmission components. The company is headquartered in Milwaukee, but it was headquartered in Beloit for 30 years until 2021 when Regal Beloit merged with Rexnord. The company still maintains a facility in downtown Beloit.
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