WATERLOO — A long-empty property that once contained one of Waterloo’s largest employers will be up for auction at the end of the month.
Friedman Real Estate is auctioning off the former Perry Printing Company Headquarters, 575 W. Madison St., on Oct. 26-28. The property, renovated and renamed the Waterloo Tech Center in 2017, has a starting bid of $250,000.
While the property is owned by a private entity, the Waterloo City Council approved a resolution at its Oct. 1 meeting to provide a targeted co-brokerage incentive linked to the auction.
Waterloo Clerk/Treasurer Mo Hanson said the city has proposed a 1.5% incentive, similar to what the city offered for the Treyburn Farms residential development.
According to the resolution, the city is putting forth the incentive to attract new businesses and employment opportunities
“With Treyburn Farms we provided real estate agents a $1,500 check from the city if they brought their client to the sale and got them across the finish line,” Hanson said.
The city will partner with the auction house with the former putting forward a 1.5% co-brokerage incentive and the latter kicking in a 1% incentive. Hanson said Waterloo’s portion of the brokerage incentive would come from the tax incremental district No. 2 fund balance, which is currently $800,000. If the building sells for $900,000 to $1 million, the city would need to provide $14,000-$15,000 for its portion of the incentive.
“Obviously, we’re doing what we can to not let this go into foreclosure,” Mayor Jeni Quimby said. “This does give other people some incentive to look at this building. No guarantee anyone’s going to buy it, but at least we’re trying to do what we can to get people in there.”
The mayor said in speaking with others, offering the incentive made the most sense.
“I’d rather pay $15,000 than $400,000 (for foreclosure),” she said.
Quimby had questioned why the property owner was looking to sell the parcel and building at this time and not sooner.
“Brokers and auctions look at things because they know they’re going to get it a little bit cheaper but they’re also going to have more eyes on it,” she said.
Quimby added the incentive will only go through if the building is purchased.
As part of the incentive package, Hanson had asked the winning bidder to supply a jobs guarantee to prevent real estate speculation and to set a floor price for the winning bid dollar amount. The auction house declined to have these conditions are part of the co-brokerage agreement.
“Their argument was that specifically the floor signals a price to the market and they strongly discourage that,” he said.
In other action, the council appointed municipal office administrative assistant Raynelle Butzine as a deputy clerk for election administration purposes. Butzine has been a municipal employee since 1987 and holds the highest Wisconsin Election Commission certification available to municipal employees. The resolution also acknowledges her many years of being the lead person to oversee elections for the city.
The council approved the annual city vehicle registration fee of $15, which has been in effect since 2019. According to Hanson the fee, also known as a wheel tax, brought in just more than $40,000 in 2019 and is projected to net approximately $49,000 this year. It was passed 6-1 with Alderman Ron Griffin voting no.