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City of Medford receives $86,900 state grant to support redevelopment of downtown building

WEDC investment to help fund Brucker Building’s rehabilitation

MEDFORD,  WI. JUNE 15, 2022 – The City of Medford is receiving a $86,900 state grant to help redevelop the Brucker Building, unoccupied since a 1980 fire, into a bookstore and wine bar as well as a two-bedroom apartment.

The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the Brucker Building’s transformation into an attractive spot on South Main Street where independent bookseller, the Prickly Pear, will serve wine by the glass. Upstairs will be a two-bedroom apartment, which will address an ever-present need for housing in Medford.

“This building is too well-located and has too much exposure to continue being an eyesore in downtown Medford,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s leading economic development organization. “WEDC is thrilled to help fund this project and breathe additional life into South Main Street.”

Such improvements to Main Street are of unparalleled importance to Medford native Doug Gasek, owner of Medford Properties and the developer of this project. With the Rethos organization, Gasek helped run the Minnesota Main Streets program before returning to Medford two years ago.

“One of my goals when moving back to Medford was to be able to help continue the path of rejuvenation in Medford,” Gasek said. “There have been a lot of new businesses opening in downtown Medford, which has been really exciting in the last couple years. This project is building on all that positive momentum.”

“We are filling a lot of our empty storefronts,” said Billie Hartwig, vice president of the Medford Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s been an upward trend and we are noticing a lot more traffic going up and down our main street.”

Constructed in 1885, the Brucker Building has been a bank and a dry cleaner, among other things. Its corner location at 238 South Main Street is highly visible, so the unsightly, rundown building has prompted several complaints over the years. Renovations, which include a new back wall and a new roof, will give the property new life. The Prickly Pear will generate at least three new jobs and figures to be a hotspot for local gatherings.

“It’s one of those iconic buildings that people see when they’re in downtown,” Gasek said. “It just needed some love and attention to get it back up and running like it should have been for a long time.”

WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need, and use of sustainable downtown development practices.

“I’m pleased to see this investment coming to downtown Medford,” said state Rep. James Edming. “I hope that this project can be a catalyst for further development in the downtown area and the rest of Medford.”

From the program’s inception in 2013 through March 2022, WEDC has awarded nearly $34.8 million in CDI Grants to 166 communities for projects expected to generate more than $517 million in capital investments statewide.

“For projects like this in downtown, WEDC’s help is definitely the difference maker,” Gasek added. “Without WEDC and this grant program, this project wouldn’t have been able to happen and the building would have continued to sit vacant.”