The search for a "Block 7" developer is back on

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The City of Eau Claire is searching for a new developer to build on an empty parking lot in downtown known as Block 7.

The city chose Pablo Properties last year to develop at Block 7 but this morning they stepped back from the project, reopening the search for a new developer to take over the city owned property.

Pablo Properties was planning for the area to be the home of the new Eau Claire Children's Museum, office space and more.

Eau Claire City Councilman Andrew Werthmann says the area is an attractive place for redevelopment.

“We've seen over 3,000 new jobs created and our downtown is filling up,” Werthmann says. “I think there is an interest for being downtown because it is the center of our community.”

Finding a new developer should come easy according to Aaron White, the city's Director of the Redevelopment Authority. He says there is high demand for property in the downtown area.

“Even through the process we had been getting inquiries from other developers wondering if the project was moving forward so we know the development interest is there,” White says.

Before Pablo Properties had been chosen, three other developers had also vied for the project.

With Pablo Properties stepping aside, the children's museum is still hopeful there will be space for them in block seven.

“We think that we bring a lot of value as far as who we are and who we serve to be a part of the future of Block 7,” says Michael McHorney, Executive Director of the museum. He says the museum will plan to move forward with their planning process.

“There is a lot of space in Block 7 so I think there is plenty of opportunity for the new developer to work with them for their relocation and expansion,” says White.

McHorney is still hopeful that the museum will be able to open its new location by its original goal of 2021. While there are no official dates yet for the project, White says this goal still may be possible.
As for the rest of Block 7, the city will have to wait to see plans from potential developers.