Client:  City of La Crosse (WI)

The City of La Crosse, Wisconsin plan to develop a bus terminal on Jay and Third Street in downtown La Crosse. It retained LSA Design, Inc. and Gruen Gruen + Associates (“GG+A”) to plan and design the transit project. GG+A’s role was to identify if revenue-generating, service-enhancing uses could potentially be developed in conjunction with the bus terminal. Based on inspection of the downtown, review of relevant secondary data, and interviews with downtown property owners, developers, real estate brokers, City of La Crosse officials and staff and representatives of Downtown Mainstreet, Inc., La Crosse Area Development Corporation and La Crosse Area Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, GG+A completed a market reconnsaiance of the downtown. The reconnaissance focused on office, retail, hotel, and residential uses. GG+A synthesized the research of potential opportunities and constraints into: (a) factors that encourage demand or locational strengths, (b) factors that discourage demand or locational weaknesses, and (c) use options, competing supply alternatives and potential market niches. GG+A identified a development and enhancement strategy for the downtown and uses such as cultural/educational functions like the La Crosse Community Theater, restaurants for the transit site consistent with the strategy and for which user interest was demonstrated. While the transit function was found likely to be perceived as a marketing challenge, if the site could be designed so as to accommodate both the transit function and multi-family housing, multi-family housing demand from young professionals and those related to the local educational institutions was found to exist. Recommendations were made to work with the local healthcare and educational institutions and large software employers to obtain commitments or assistance for filling multi-family units.

The City accepted GG+A’s findings, conclusions, and strategic recommendations and the prime contractor used the results of GG+A’s analysis to design the project.