WEDC investment to help fund renovations for commercial space and apartments

MADISON, WI. MARCH 30, 2021 – The Village of Argyle is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help renovate the former Ford building located in downtown Argyle.

The Community Development Investment (CDI) Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support renovations of the building into a commercial space and set of apartments.

“WEDC is committed to helping communities invest in revitalizing their downtowns to encourage economic growth,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “This project will not only bring more business and housing to downtown Argyle, but it will also serve as a catalyst for future development and investment.”

“We were happy when we heard our community received the CDI Grant to help with this project in our downtown area. Argyle, like so many other small towns, has old buildings in need of renovations,” Village President Thomas Moore said. “Local developer RBS Properties LLC had a project that needed many improvements to an old building. The result for our community will be a new business with residential living quarters upstairs. This all comes at a cost, but thanks to the WEDC, we are able to pursue this exciting project.”

The village is working with a local developer, RBS Properties LLC, to renovate the building, which has been underused for the past 28 years. RBS Properties plans to renovate the first floor into a commercial space for a fitness center and the second floor into four apartments, which will include three one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment. The estimated completion date is December 2022.

“Small projects like this are imperative to the continued growth of small downtowns and the economic health and success of the greater community. This project is a catalyst for investments in Argyle,” said Katherine Westaby, Vierbicher community development consultant and Wisconsin Downtown Action Council president. Vierbicher is providing grant application and administration services to the village.

The renovated building will have new sprinklers, flooring, windows, doors and insulation, as well as possible exterior updates and other necessary updates. A parking lot will be available for future residents, and an elevator is being installed to improve accessibility of the apartments. The fitness center is an expansion of an existing business within the community and will have cardio and weightlifting workout areas.

“I am happy to see these funds awarded to the Village of Argyle. Too often, rural communities are left out on redevelopment opportunities,” said state Rep. Todd Novak. “I believe this funding will provide the necessary boost allowing the village of Argyle to continue to grow.”

“Congratulations to the Village of Argyle on receiving the CDI Grant. This public/private partnership will improve downtown Argyle,” said state Sen. Howard Marklein.

The former Ford building was built in 1916 and has been owner-occupied by John Deere, Ford Motor Company and the Argyle School Basketball team, and was used for several traveling theater shows as well as private events before its closure 28 years ago.

WEDC’s CDI 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.

From the program’s inception in 2013 to Sept. 30, 2020, WEDC has awarded nearly $26.7 million in CDI Grants to 87 communities for projects expected to generate more than $446 million in capital investments statewide.