Marathon site

The RDA and developer Todd Nelson are once again in talks to develop the former Marathon location, 314 W. Main St. The parties have signed an offer and the new closing date is April 15.

The Redevelopment Authority’s on-again, off-again relationship with developer Todd Nelson to build at the old Marathon site is back on.

Nelson and Realtor Blake George agreed to a deal Wednesday, Feb. 6, that met all the conditions the RDA set for it after a fourth deal with Nelson fell through in October.

Nelson has planned to build two four-unit apartment buildings on the site at the corner of West Main and Prairie streets, which the RDA has been trying to sell since 2011, after razing an abandoned gas station in 2010. The new closing date is April 15.

Roger Springman, chair of the RDA, told the Hub the agreement stipulates Nelson is responsible for creating $900,000 in taxable value by the end of the year “whether construction is completed or not.” That’s up from $100,000 in previous deals. The developer would also take care of all park and permit fees before closing.

“As before, the RDA is also participating with the buyer on some of added clean-up costs for the site,” Springman said.

This time, Springman had been in contact with Nelson’s bank “to make sure that it was fully on-board with site clean-up needs.” The environmental cleanup costs had been a significant sticking point that held up funding in previous deals.

The RDA bought the half-acre parcel in 2010, along with a neighboring smaller lot that used to have a single-family home on it in 2012. The RDA has since invested more than $300,000 in the former gas station in purchasing and cleanup costs, city officials said.

Though Ald. and RDA member Regina Hirsch (Dist. 3) told the group she’s “not going to celebrate until April 15 (because) we’ve been here multiple times,” Springman put the odds at “way more than 50 percent” the deal would happen this cycle.

Mayor Tim Swadley said the assurances from the bank were confidence-inspiring, as that is something he hadn’t seen in previous deals.

Contact Alexander Cramer at